If you live in a locale that has all four seasons, you know the beginning of summer means a serious lifestyle shift. Puffy jackets are retired in favor of tank tops, cozy nights by the fireplace are swapped for beachside bonfires and complaining about the cold is replaced by complaining about the sweltering heat.
While most of these changes happen naturally, there are probably a few cold-weather habits you’re unconsciously keeping up year-round — habits that could put a real damper on your summer fun. To help you shake off the winter blues, we partnered with Sensodyne® Rapid Relief toothpaste to share some small but mighty tips on ways to enhance your summertime routine.
1. Slather on the sunscreen
After a winter spent inside, or hiding behind several layers of scarves, those first rays of sun on your bare skin can feel like a dream come true. But if you’re not careful, that dream could quickly become a blistery nightmare. While most dermatologists agree you should be wearing SOME form of sunscreen year-round, that small dab of SPF 15 tinted moisturizer isn’t going to cut it come July.
Studies have long shown that regular sunscreen use — in addition to preventing painful and unsightly sunburns from wrecking your #SummerSelfies — can reduce the risk of developing melanoma, a particularly nasty form of skin cancer. If you want to live to see as many summers as possible, spreading on the ’screen is gonna be your best bet.
Luckily, this routine shift won’t take up too much of your summer lounging time. Just find a sunscreen that works with your skin, and apply liberally throughout the day. Remember, the higher the SPF, the better!
2. Give your hair some summer love
“Just like your skin, your hair is made up of keratin and can be damaged from sun exposure,” said Sarah Bogart, a Chicago-based stylist and colorist who advises all her clients to pay special attention to their tresses in the summer months.
To avoid breakage and sun damage, Bogart suggests using a leave-in conditioner with UV protection, wearing a hat during peak sunshine hours (between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.) and embracing low-maintenance summer styles, like braids and natural beachy waves.
If your hair responds to summer humidity by getting crazy frizzy, Bogart has a slew of suggestions for taming those flyaways.
“If you want to keep your hair frizz-free all summer, adding a leave-in spray or serum to your daily routine is going to help a lot,” she said. “Try sea salt sprays to texturize, and hair masks, leave in conditioners and split-end repairs to smooth. Mousse and cream-based curl control can help define and strengthen otherwise unruly curls, and if you have frizz and your hair is dry, a small amount of hair serum can go a long way.”
3. Drop the gym for the real world
Between the dirty machines, the sour smell of other people’s sweat and the hassle of actually getting to and from the gym, working out can become a dreaded task. But come summer, you don’t need a gym to get fit. Pause your membership until the fall, and start working out in the fitness center that’s located right outside your front door.
Instead of lining up for 30 fluorescent minutes on the treadmill, take your time and go for a long sun-drenched run around the lake. And rather than hauling your mat to a musty, crowded room, look online for free outdoor yoga or Pilates classes, or do a solitary sun salutation in your backyard. When it’s nice out, the whole world can be your gym. So save the money you would be spending on that fitness club membership, get outside and get moving!
4. Shop (and eat!) in the great outdoors
Admit it, your eating habits could be better. When it’s cold outside, stuffing yourself with heavy, processed and easy-to-prepare comfort food isn’t hard to justify. But as the weather warms and your local farmers market begins to fill up with colorful fruits and veggies, you should start to listen to that nagging voice in the back of your head.
Dr. Mindy Haar, the assistant dean of Undergraduate Affairs at NYIT School of Health Professions, thinks there’s good reason to put away your food delivery apps and hit the farmers markets come summer. “As farmers markets provide locally grown produce, the fruits and vegetables offered have spent so much less time in transit as compared to what is in the supermarket,” she said. “Many nutrients deteriorate over time…[so] seasonal fruits and vegetables are often at the peak of their nutritional value.”
Once you have all that fresh produce in hand, Haar suggests taking your cooking outdoors and firing up the grill. “While huge steaks and hot dogs that are grilled are not going to improve your nutrition profile, grilling chicken and fish can make for more healthful meals,” she said. “Go a step further and grill veggie burgers, peppers, zucchini and corn to move to a more plant-based diet. You can wrap sweet potatoes in foil and throw on the grill, as well!”
And when it comes time for dessert, remember that even treats can be healthy. Pro tip: Pick up strawberries while you’re at the farmers market, cut them in half, freeze for a few hours and then blend (and keep blending!). Enjoy your delicious cold summer treat.
5. Step up your shoe game
When it’s nice out, it’s normal to feel an itch to get all your steps in outdoors. Just make sure your feet are prepared for the extra pressure. If you’re regularly going for long summer walks in flip-flops or high-heeled summer sandals, you could be doing your feet a real disservice, said Dr. Yolanda Ragland, a podiatrist and founder of Fix Your Feet.
“Flip-flops are better as shower shoes or walking from the car to the beach, and they should be used in light moderation,” said Ragland. “If you wear flip-flops every day, you are more vulnerable to getting plantar fasciitis because they are too flat. Any heel that is too high is not good for you either. For flip-flops or heels, my advice would be to wear in moderation. A high-heeled shoe or sandal, or even a platform sandal, keeps you vulnerable to an ankle sprain due to turning your ankle inward, or rupturing a ligament that surrounds the lateral ankle.”
Hot weather means an influx of cold treats, but tossing back frozen custard, sorbet and ice-cold cocktails can be a painful experience for those of us with sensitive teeth. If you want to enjoy the summer months without wincing every time you pick up a popsicle, try swapping out your current toothpaste for Sensodyne® Rapid Relief. Its unique formulation with stannous fluoride quickly creates a barrier over sensitive areas of your teeth, so you can spend your summer worrying about nothing more than what flavor of ice cream to try next.
Words by Caroline Thompson