Plan for the Perfect 4th of July

Sunshine! Barbecues! Fireworks! The big national day is coming, and who doesn’t love a good July 4th celebration? If you’re planning on hosting or even just attending any of the festivities, planning and preparation can go a long way toward being safe and healthy this Independence Day. The fun times of the 4th can be fraught with peril if you’re not careful, but don’t worry; we’ve got the best tips to make sure this is your best 4th of July ever.

  • Bring some earplugs. A report from Loyola University Health System found that the sounds of summer—such as fireworks and marching bands—can damage your hearing. In fact, fireworks have a sound decibel of 150, and ear protection is recommended for decibels above 85. When noise is too loud, it begins to kill the hair cells and nerve endings in the inner ear; the longer you’re exposed to loud noise, the more likely you are to permanently damage your hearing. Toss some plugs in your bag or use your hands to cover your ears in a pinch. 
  • Swim in clear water. Swimming is great exercise, and a super way to cool off when overheated; However, a good rule of thumb is to only dip into clear, good-smelling water. For lake goers, make sure there isn’t any blue-green algae, or slimy, smelly, green film floating on the lake’s surface. Some forms of this can produce toxic bacteria that’s bad news for your health. 
  • Practice smart and safe eating. Keep from throwing your diet to the (hot) dogs by choosing wisely. Try to fill up on the delicious fresh fruits and veggies of summer instead of high carb, high calorie picnic foods. Choose lean proteins like skinless, grilled chicken over fatty burgers or ribs, for example. Avoid food-borne illnesses by eschewing mayonnaise-based salads. Instead go for options with oil and vinegar-based dressings which are generally lower in calories and risk of spoilage. 
  • SPF in advance. Applying your sunscreen in advance—and reapplying frequently—means you can significantly improve your skin’s protection from harmful rays.  
  • Follow the heat & humidity rule. To keep from dehydrating, implement the 70/70 rule: When the temperature and humidity are both above 70, you enter the dehydration danger zone. Stay safe by sipping frequently from a water bottle and drinking plenty of water before, during, and after activity.
  • Alternate your alcohol. If you choose to have a cocktail or two, the safest way to consume them is to make sure you have plenty of food in your stomach and to alternate each cocktail with a non-alcoholic beverage like water or decaf soda to help stave off alcohol-induced dehydration.

With a bit of preparation, some thoughtful food choices, and common-sense summer safety, you can have a wonderful holiday celebration. And don’t deprive yourself of a treat! Just choose wisely to get the most “bang” for your calorie choice. Happy holiday planning from all of us at VIPSurg.

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Don’t Let Travel Derail Your Healthy Lifestyle

It’s summer, and for many, that means travel and vacation. While fun and exciting, leaving home takes one out of usual routines, places temptations in the way that aren’t usually there, and often makes it difficult to stick to a healthy eating and exercise plan. Do travel and living a healthy lifestyle have to be mutually exclusive? NO! Fortunately, having a wonderful vacation doesn’t have to mean sabotaging all your hard-earned diet and fitness progress. 

With a little planning and these helpful tips, you can come home from vacation feeling healthier than when you left. Preparation is key!

  • If you’re on the road, bring a cooler filled with delicious, healthy food, such as vegetables with hummus, fresh fruit, and grilled chicken. Pack water to keep you hydrated. Road trip picnics provide a great opportunity to add some activity and stretch those legs. Plan to find some place with a short walking trail or playground for a little respite from the car. 
  • Choose wisely when making quick food stops. Fast food restaurants fall short when you’re looking for a variety of healthy options. On the other hand, if you stop at a grocery store, you will find many whole foods like rotisserie chicken, whole-grain breads, fruits, and vegetables. If you happen to find one with a salad bar, you can find a delicious, healthy meal already prepared right in the supermarket.
  • If you are staying at a hotel, find a grocery store on the way to pick up healthy, appealing items to have in your room for when you need a snack. Otherwise, you might be tempted to hit the over-priced mini bar or vending machines for something you wouldn’t even want if you were home. 
  • Even though breakfast may come with your hotel room, use your best judgment at the buffet. Avoid pastries and baked goods. Choose simple, whole-food options. Fresh fruit, yogurt, and oatmeal are good ways to start your day. A little egg for a protein source can benefit you as well.
  • Travel offers many opportunities to be just as active, if not more so, than when you’re home. Walking on the beach, hiking in the mountains, swimming, touring new areas, and even shopping can all be counted toward your daily physical activities.
  • Keep in mind that rest and relaxation are healthy “activities” too. 

Treat yourself kindly while vacationing. If there are some foods that make your experience more special, you should indulge yourself. However, if you eat healthier and make wise food choices, you will have more energy to enjoy your vacation time and return home recharged and ready to continue your healthy lifestyle journey.

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