Finally the British summer has arrived! With all the warm feeling (excuse the pun) around the beautiful weather it’s important not to forget how to maintain a healthy lifestyle. We sat down with Private GP, Dr Adam Wander, who discusses his top 5 health tips for summer.
‘Doctor, I’m feeling tired all the time’
As a busy GP many of my consultations are about tiredness, stress, poor sleep and generally feeling rundown. I see many people with chronic disease such as diabetes and heart disease and I often give lifestyle advice about how to maintain a healthy mind and body. I thought I’d write about top health tips for summer but these suggestions can also apply throughout the year. Many of these tips are already well documented but they’re so important for good health I thought it was well worth giving you my take on them.
1. Keep Moving
The benefits of exercise are many, from reducing dementia risk to relieving depression. Exercise is proven to lower stress levels, aid sleep and boost self-esteem. It’s important to do something which gets you feeling out of breath and that elevates your heart rate. Ideally this should be something you enjoy otherwise it will fall by the wayside. I cycle to work every day which I find very therapeutic, especially the climb up Highgate West Hill! Try and take up cycling, swimming, brisk walking or a competitive sport but the main thing is do something and move more. Using a pedometer and doing 10,000 steps a day is a good start.
2. Healthy Eating
Eat lots of fruit and vegetables. Summer is an ideal time to visit your local farmers market, or if you have an allotment, as I do, you can grow your own. Eat a good sized healthy breakfast ideally one with a low glycaemic index which prevents you getting hungry later on, mid-morning. An ideal suggestion is my daughters daily breakfast of porridge oats and chia seeds with fruit and honey.
Try and practice Hara Hachi Bu, which is the Japanese philosophy of eating until you’re 80% full. You may up end up like the Okinawan people who often live to 100!
3. Enjoy The Sun
It’s clearly important to be careful in the sun, such as not going out during the hottest times of the day, wearing a hat and using sun protection factor. However, there are lots of benefits of sunshine, such as boosting vitamin D production which helps maintain healthy bones, skin and immunity. The sun can also be beneficial for certain skin conditions such as psoriasis eczema and acne.
4. Water Water Water
Drinking plenty of water is key. It is fundamental to the workings of our body. We are especially prone to dehydration in the summer which can lead to low energy levels, dry skin and kidney stones. Recommendations are to drink 8 glasses a day. As a general rule check the colour of your urine! It should be a pale straw colour. Go easy on the G and T’s as alcohol is a diuretic and will dehydrate you further.
Take Time For Yourself
As a GP it is very common to see people whose health condition is secondary to stress. Everything from a flare up of inflammatory bowel disease to migraines to a worsening of a skin disease. The role of stress and physical health are intertwined. Summer is a good time to start a hobby. Turn off your mobile and laptop and find some time for solitude. Try mindfulness or meditation.
Dr Adam Wander is one of the GPs in the Hospital of St John and St Elizabeth Private GP Practice team. Outside of medicine he is a keen cyclist, spends time on his allotment and runs wine tasting events. To book an appointment with Dr Adam Wander you can call on 020 7432 8269 or email us at [email protected]