Bob Greene's Summer Workout
Whether hiking, biking, hitting the beach or lounging by the pool, summer is when we spend the most time outside. Get ready to show some skin and protect yourself from the sun.
Walk Bob says walking is a great exercise to get in shape for the summer. It's easy on your body, and you can do it anywhere, anytime, no matter who you are. When you set out, go for time (20 to 30 minutes to start; 45 minute to an hour for more advanced walkers), not distance. Make sure you're walking at a good clip. On a scale of 1 to 10, your walk should be 7—you can still talk but you don't want to have a long conversation. And don't forget to warm up and cool down!
Water Bob suggests increasing the amount of water you drink during the summer months. This is important both for staying hydrated during a workout and for staying fit. Bob says we often reach for food when our bodies really require more water. Water also has a "filling" effect, making us less prone to overeating.
Diet Classic diets generally make us feel as though we are depriving ourselves, something we can't do for very long. And drastically decreasing the calories you eat slows your metabolism, causing you to lose energy and motivation, which will sabotage your efforts. Instead, allow your body to increase your metabolism and adjust to your new cardiovascular exercise for one to two months. It's very important to exercise aerobically, then gradually change your eating habits—eliminate late-night eating, eat breakfast and reduce portion sizes. This will have a much greater impact and not cause your metabolism to shut down.
See this clipSummer Skincare—Exfoliate
One of the best ways to get your skin ready for summer is with regular exfoliation. This gets rid of dead, dry skin cells. Use a washcloth, a loofah or any number of the microdermabrasion creams or tools that are now on the market.
But don't go overboard with it. Exfoliate no more than once a day—a couple times a week is enough. Summer Skincare—Moisturize
After exfoliating, it's time to hydrate. And that means moisturizer. For skin that's only a little dry, opt for a liquid moisturizer. For very dry skin, try a cream moisturizer.
Use it after you exfoliate, shave and shower—shaving because it adds back the protective skin barrier you've shaved off.
Be sure to pick a moisturizer that is labeled as "noncomedogenic." This means it won't clog your pores and cause breakouts. Summer Skincare—The Art of Summer Shaving
Shaving every day in the summer can be a real drag. A good shaving strategy can simplify the process.
Make sure hair is thoroughly wet first.
Avoid repeating strokes.
Keep skin relaxed while shaving.
Shave in the direction of the hair. Going against the grain gets a closer shave, but it tends to cause irritation and ingrown hairs.
In places where hair grows in different directions and in hard-to-reach areas, such as underarms and the bikini area, try pulling the skin slightly, making it more taut and easier to shave.
Try using a shave-minimizing moisturizer after you shave. It may reduce hair growth.
Minimize ingrown hairs. Skincare experts recommend buying a specialized product made with aspirin, an anti-inflammatory, which decreases the likelihood of shaving bumps caused by ingrown hairs. Several treatments are available in drugstores to help eliminate bumps, ingrown hairs and razor burns.
Take Care of Your Feet
Now that the rest of your body is ready for the outdoors, it's time to focus on your feet.
Start by getting rid of fungal toenails. Topical, whitening and antifungal agents help remove toe fungus and fix discolored nails. If you have major discoloration, doctors can use a laser to whiten the nails. Oral antifungals are also available, but they may take time to start working.
For unsightly calluses on your heels, a chemical peel administered by a doctor can remove the entire callus for baby-soft skin. Exfoliating creams can help keep smaller calluses at bay.
Pedicures are also popular during sandal season, but they're not without their risks. There are a few simple things you can do to keep yourself safe at the salon. Cut down on germs by making sure the pedicurist cleans out the whirlpool with bleach. Bring your own instruments, and never let anyone use razor blades on your feet. Have the pedicurist cut your toenails straight across to avoid ingrown toenails. And opt for lighter polish colors like beige and light pink—darker shades can stain nails. Sun Exposure and Aging
Sun exposure causes most of the skin changes that we think are a normal part of aging. Over time, the sun's ultraviolet (UV) light damages the fibers in the skin called elastin. When these fibers break down, the skin begins to sag, stretch and lose its ability to go back into place after stretching. The skin also bruises and tears more easily—longer to heal. So while sun damage to the skin may not be apparent when you're young, it will definitely show later in life.
Exposure to the sun causes:
Fine and coarse wrinkles
Discolored areas of the skin
Sallowness—yellow discoloration of the skin
Telangiectasias—dilation of small blood vessels under the skin
Elastosis—destruction of the elastic tissue causing lines and wrinkles
Dr. Oz Explains the "A, B, C, D" of Skin Cancer
Even more than premature aging, the most alarming consequence of sun exposure is skin cancer—the most common form of cancer. Dr. Oz says there are actually three types of skin cancer.
Basal cell cancer, which starts at the base of the skin, is the most common form. Typically caused by sun damage, it starts with a scaly area that, if it advances, will eventually gain a pearly appearance. Squamous cell tumors get a scaly appearance early. As they advance, the skin puckers in.
The third type of skin cancer is melanoma, which Dr. Oz calls "the big one." Melanoma comes from melanin, the cells that make pigment, so there are a few indicators.
To identify melanoma, doctors use the "A, B, C, D" method:
Asymmetry: "It's hard to draw a line down the middle," Dr. Oz says.
Border: "The border's irregular and it sort of melts into the skin around it. That's a classic sign of a melanoma."
Color: If a mole has a "rainbow coalition" of colors, that means it's probably melanoma, Dr. Oz says.
Diameter: Dr. Oz says mole size does matter. "If you can cover over the mole with an eraser head, you'll probably be okay," he says. "But if you've got hundreds of moles or a family history or you've had a melanoma in the past, you need to be screened pretty aggressively."
How to Buy Sunscreen
If used properly, sunscreen can protect against sunburn, skin aging and skin cancer. Whether you buy the sunscreen in lotions, creams, ointments, gels, wax sticks or sprays, there are three things to look for.
First is water resistance. You don't want the sunscreen coming off when you sweat or go in the water.
Second, look for an sun protection factor, or SPF, of at least 15. The SPF rating is calculated by comparing the amount of time needed to produce sunburn on sunscreen-protected skin to the amount of time needed to cause sunburn on unprotected skin.
Finally, you need broad-spectrum protection. Look at the label. You want to see the following ingredients: benzophenones (oxybenzone), cinnamates (octylmethyl cinnamate and cinoxate), sulisobenzone, salicylates, titanium oxide, zinc oxide and avobenzone. If sunscreen doesn't have these ingredients, it probably only filters UVB light, which is the major culprit for sunburn and skin cancer, but not UVA rays, which are responsible for premature aging and the development of skin cancer. Needless to say, you want a sunscreen with those UVA-blocking ingredients. The Biggest Sunscreen Mistake
Besides not wearing it at all, the biggest mistake people make with sunscreen is not using enough. When it comes to applying sunscreen, more is better.
As a general rule, use an ounce—about a handful—to cover your entire body. Put on enough that it takes a full minute to rub in.
Also, make sure you go through this application routine 15 to 20 minutes before going out in the sun—not when you're already outside. Then, reapply it every two hours and after swimming or strenuous exercise. The Eyes Have It
Just as the sun can burn skin, prolonged UV exposure can redden the whites of your eyes too. Over time, too much sun can cause serious eye problems, such as cataracts and macular degeneration.
When you're buying sunglasses, there are a few things to keep in mind whether you plan to spend $10 or $1,000. First, look for gray or brown lenses to cut down on color distortion. Then, consider how much coverage the lenses provide. Wraparound lenses can block up to 5 percent more rays. And check to make sure they are listed as having "UV 400 protection—this means the lenses block up to 400 nanometers of UV light.
You'll also want sunglasses that promise some kind of impact resistance, especially if you plan to shell out for designer frames. They won't do you any good if they can't withstand your activity level or a trip to the bottom of your beach bag.