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Healthy Living

5 Ways Summer Is Good For Your Health

It's vacation season, y'all!
Summer is even good for your heart. 
Summer is even good for your heart. 

Between the diet-derailing barbecues and the scorching sunburns, seems like there can be a lot to avoid when summer rolls around.

But you might be surprised by some of the healthy perks of summer worth celebrating today, the official first day of the season. Of course, some of our favorite reasons to love spring carry over, like mood-boosting sunshine and stress-reducing time spent in nature.

But there are also a few special benefits unique to summer that we're more than excited to enjoy. Here are some of our favorites.

1
It's Vacation Season
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Of course, you can take a vacation any time of the year. But with school out and the beach calling, many of us opt for a little time off over the summer months. Doing so may be one of the best gifts you can give yourself. Vacations ease stress and improve mood -- even after returning to "real" life. They also seem to protect us from heart disease and heart attacks. And for many people, a little time away brings some added perspective to life and boosts motivation to get back to their goals, US News reported.
2
Your Heart Stays Healthier
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Speaking of heart problems: In 2012, researchers noted a significant difference in heart attack survival rates during the winter and the summer. "People are 26 to 36 percent more likely to die in winter from a heart attack, a stroke, heart failure or some other circulatory disease," the study's lead author told NBC News. That doesn't mean you can take a break from regular exercise or your nutritious diet. It's more likely that you've gone full steam ahead on your healthiest habits in the summer, giving your heart added protection, NBC News reported.
3
You're Sure To Get A Good Sweat
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Let's face it: Summer is hot. Sometimes, it's even too hot. But when conditions are safe enough for outdoor exercise without risking heat-related illness, one thing's certain: You're most definitely going to sweat. That might sound more unpleasant than anything, but truth is a good sweat can be good for you. While it doesn't exactly detox you, sweating really can help fight infections, since sweat seems to help keep skin clear of bacteria and fungi, according to MSN. Sweating also gives circulation a boost and opens up the pores, which could help your face stay acne-free.
4
Fruit Abounds
Summer wouldn't be complete without heaping helpings of strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, cherries, watermelon -- the list of in-season fruit goes on and on. The best news is these summer picks are as nutritious as they are delicious. All are loaded with antioxidants and vitamins (and flavor!), for very few calories. Blueberries have been linked to lower cholesterol and diabetes risk, raspberries and blackberries are excellent sources of fiber, cherries seem to speed recovery after exercise and curb pain and strawberries may slow cognitive decline with aging. Not to mention fruit is chock-full of water, helping you to stay hydrated on those hot, sweaty days. Fruit salad, anyone?
5
Swimming!
There aren't too many opportunities to take an outdoor swim during the other three seasons, and we plan to take full advantage. Swimming uses all the muscle groups with minimal impact and improves strength, since the water provides natural resistance, WebMD reported. People with joint pain or arthritis can often participate in water-based exercise more easily -- and without worsening symptoms, according to the CDC. Swimming has also been shown to improve mood and alleviate depression. According to a study published in the International Journal of Aquatic Research and Education, swimmers even have a lower risk of death than runners and walkers. Plus, is it just us, or is there something about swimming that just seems more fun than exercising on land?

A previous version of this story was published in June 2013.