21 Summer Health Hacks

By   

View as:

Happy multi-generational family taking a walk
Photo credit: bowdenimages/istockphoto

Summer is a time to get out and enjoy good weather, but sunburns, scrapes, bug bites, dehydration, and weight gain abound. Help keep yourself and your family healthy and happy with these seasonal tips and hacks.

Family having a picnic in the summer
Photo credit: nd3000/istockphoto

Contrary to popular belief, wearing light-colored clothes won't keep you cooler in the heat, but they can help deter mosquitos. These pests use color to locate their targets, favoring dark colors like blue and black. To stay cool and bug-free on a hot day out, wear clothing both lightweight and light in color.
Homemade popsicles
Photo credit: MKucova/istockphoto

Invest in popsicle molds to freeze your favorite fruits for frozen sweets without added calories and artificial sugars. For best results, try pairing fruit with other ingredients to create flavors like strawberry basil, mango almond, and watermelon yogurt.
Fresh honey in a jar
Photo credit: Materio/istockphoto

Raw honey is a versatile natural medicine. Applying it to cuts and scrapes throughout the summer can protect from infection, inflammation, scarring, and odor. This seems to apply for all honeys, although the research has focused on manuka honey, which was approved for wound treatment by the Food and Drug Administration in 2007.

Tiger balm
Photo credit: sasimoto/istockphoto

Available on Amazon for $5, Tiger Balm is an Eastern herbal remedy with nearly limitless uses. The strong-scented ointment can soothe allergies and sore throats, or be applied on bug bites or bee stings to reduce itching and inflammation.
Woman exercising outside
Photo credit: adamkaz/istockphoto

Set some sort of alert on your phone to remind you to get outside and move around. Even short intervals of exercise can go a long way toward improving health and boosting metabolism. It's also easier to squeeze a couple of 10-minute workouts into a busy day than a whole hour. There are many mini-workout regimens that combine 30-second exercises to keep up the intensity for 10 minutes or more.
Man spraying bug repellent on his arm
Photo credit: ChesiireCat/istockphoto

Many commercial bug sprays rely on the chemical DEET to repel mosquitos, but you can take a more natural path by making your own bug repellent from natural ingredients like rosemary, coconut butter, cloves, mint, and catnip. Lemon eucalyptus essential oil is another effective way to ward off the blood-sucking pests.
Bounce dryer sheets
Photo credit: memoriesarecaptured/istockphoto

Sticking a Bounce dryer sheet in your pocket or by the windowsill is a handy way to repel gnats, thanks to bug-averse ingredients like linalool and beta-citronellol, according to a study in the journal HortScience. Unfortunately, the study didn't test how well the sheets work against mosquitos.
Lemon and mint infused water
Photo credit: danilovi/istockphoto

It's important to stay hydrated in summer to avoid heat exhaustion, but it can be easy to lose motivation when all you have to drink is plain water or sugar-packed soda. Infusing water overnight with fresh ingredients like mint, blueberry, cucumber, lime, ginger, and even pine adds a gourmet twist and extra refreshment.
Citronella candles in a backyard
Photo credit: Electronza/istockphoto

Mosquitos are most active around dusk and early nighttime -- exactly when most people would like to enjoy the sunset and cooler weather. Don't fret about forgetting the spray with DIY bug-repelling citronella candles. They'll help you avoid being eaten alive at the next barbecue, and they smell great.
Running a spoon under water
Photo credit: Sasiistock/istockphoto

Sometimes you end up with bug bites no matter how many sprays or candles you use, and scratching the bites only keeps them around longer and increases the risk of scarring. An easy (and cheap) way to relieve the itchiness is by running a metal spoon under hot water, then pressing it against the bite for a few minutes. This can be a lifesaver for kids, who often can't resist the urge to scratch.
Cutting dandelion greens
Photo credit: AlexRaths/istockphoto

Keep an eye out on your next walk for anything edible growing in wooded areas, from conventional herbs like rosemary and parsley to more unusual greens like dandelion, amaranth, mallow, or nettles. You might be surprised by how many unassuming weeds are edible and healthy once you start looking -- just don't eat anything without being sure it's safe to consume.
Hikers in the forest
Photo credit: diego_cervo/istockphoto

The most effective way to prevent blisters on your feet from walking or hiking is with surgical tape, according to Stanford researchers. The tape, available at most drugstores, was found to reduce instances of blisters by 40 percent. Another method to try is rubbing deodorant on the inside of your shoe to reduce moisture and friction.
Woman holding wild mushrooms
Photo credit: KariHoglund/istockphoto

Keep an eye out for wild mushrooms growing on stumps, tree roots, or wood chips. Collect them for fun, photography, or future consumption, provided you confirm the mushroom's edibility first. Research what grows in your area, and look for easily-identified species like boletes, morels, and porcini.
Cold gazpacho soup
Photo credit: AlexPro9500/istockphoto

Using a high-speed blender to chop and prepare chilled soups keeps dirty dishes to a minimum. There are many no-cook recipes ranging from sweet to savory with healthy ingredients like cucumber, avocado, tomato, corn, onion, and raspberry.
Frozen fruit in a blender with spinach
Photo credit: bbostjan/istockphoto

When your favorite fruits are in season and go on sale at the grocery store, consider stocking up. Freeze whatever you can't finish in a week to save for later. You'll have the ingredients for delicious smoothies for months -- and for much less cash than it takes to buy them frozen.
Woman putting a piece of gum in her mouth
Photo credit: nyul/istockphoto

Have trouble staying focused when it's so nice outside? Try chewing gum. Research published in the British Journal of Psychology shows it can help you stay focused on tasks for longer and with more consistency. It's also an appetite suppressant. For summer, pick a minty gum to keep your mouth feeling cool on hot days.
Healthy banana ice cream with walnuts and cinnamon
Photo credit: Mizina/istockphoto

If you can't help yourself around ice cream, regain control by opting for this simple homemade substitute: Blend frozen bananas in a food processor and enjoy immediately for "soft-serve," or refreeze for a firmer texture. Try adding flavorings like vanilla extract or matcha green tea powder while blending.
Apple cider vinegar
Photo credit: dlinca/istockphoto

The pain and peeling of a fresh sunburn can be relieved with items common in most medicine cabinets, such as cooling aloe vera gel and anti-itch hydrocortisone cream. But if you have time, try a cool bath with naturally soothing apple cider vinegar, oatmeal, or lavender essential oil.
Fresh corn on the husk
Photo credit: aka_u/istockphoto

Don't bother peeling away the husk from an ear of corn before cooking -- leaving the husk on will help keep nutrients in, and make it easier to peel away the wisps of silk. Cooked or raw, the corn husks can also be used to make tamales, flavor soup stocks, and even cook fish.
Couple taking a walk outside
Photo credit: kali9/istockphoto

A 30-minute stroll can burn calories, but it's also been shown to improve mood and creative thinking and reduce the risk of chronic disease. Walking to work is an excellent way to fit some outdoor exercise into your routine if you're lucky enough to have a short commute. Of course, it's easier in some cities than others. Another popular tip from trainers across the country: Try walking meetings. In other words, walk and talk outside rather than sit in a conference room. This works best for one-on-one meetings, or with three people at most.
Homemade snack mix
Photo credit: LauriPatterson/istockphoto

Save money and calories on a summer road trip by fixing your own snacks for the ride. There are healthier homemade versions of almost all store-bought snacks. Some favorites you might try include sweet potato chips, chocolate granola bars, and puffy cheese crackers.

Cheapism.com participates in affiliate marketing programs, which means we may earn a commission if you choose to purchase a product through a link on our site. This helps support our work and does not influence editorial content.