Nothing feels like summer like a trip to the beach. The waves splashing onto the sand, the sea breeze in the air and the bright sunshine all around you can make for a fun day. However, there are a few precautions you need to take ahead of time to make sure your beach excursion is safe and leaves you feeling your best.
Here are five tips to stay safe during the summer.
Hydrate before, during and after.
Begin the hydration process before you go, keep it going during your trip and continue it after as well. Drinking enough clear fluids is an important part of your daily life, but it’s even more important when you will be outdoors and sweating in heat. The hydration process will keep your energy up, as well as keep your internal body temperature where it needs to be, so bring plenty of water for everyone in your group, and keep on drinking it after you leave. You can also try coconut water or watermelon water for extra hydrating electrolytes, without any added sugar.
Slather on the sunscreen.
It's no secret that you need sunscreen when you go to the beach, but what you may not know is that you need it even on a cloudy day, and you need to reapply it after swimming, toweling off or a lot of sweating too. Find a sunscreen that is SPF 30 or above and look for one that is of the mineral variety rather than chemical, then put it on at least 30 minutes before you hit the beach. (Mineral sunscreens contain zinc oxide and titanium dioxide and actually block the UV rays from your skin, whereas chemical sunscreens just filter them.) You’ll also want to reapply your sunscreen about 90 minutes into your beach day. It’s recommended that you apply sunscreen before putting on your bathing suit - UV rays can penetrate most fabrics!
Get to know your skin.
Skin cancer is the most prevalent form of cancer in the U.S., and you can damage your skin in the sun’s UV rays in just 15 minutes. Even with precautions, accidents happen. That’s why you should make it a point to assess the skin on your body, both front and back, so you can tell if you see any changes in moles, freckles or other abnormalities before and after your beach days. It’s also recommended that you see a dermatologist annually for a full skin check.
Plan for shade and covering during the peak hours.
Depending on where you live, the peak hours of sunshine can be from 10 a.m. to around 3 or 4 p.m. During that time, you want to make sure that you have access to a shaded area — preferably a large umbrella with airflow, so you can stay out of the sun’s harshest rays and seek shelter. You may also want to bring along sunglasses, a long-sleeve light shirt, pants and a wide-brim hat for extra protection.
Pack healthy snacks.
Playing beach volleyball, walking the coastline and swimming are excellent forms of exercise that all burn a lot of calories. That’s why you should be armed with plenty of healthy snacks during your next beach trip to keep your energy levels up. Fresh fruit is an excellent option, because not only will the fruit cool you down, but fruit contains a lot of water, so it helps with hydration too. Raw almonds, trail mix, celery and peanut butter and cheese and crackers are other great portable snacks. Stay away from anything spicy or too salty.
Be safe and have fun!