The 4th of July is the quintessential summer holiday. But this opportunity for patriotic celebration sometimes devolves into an outsized expression of unhealthy habits, like drinking dehydrating alcohol all day in the hot sun and hosting backyard barbecues featuring processed, oversalted foods like burgers and hot dogs.
Here’s the good news: Celebrating the birth of America’s independence doesn’t have to involve harming your health. There are plenty of ways to mark this holiday in style while promoting your longevity, not detracting from it. Here are 6 fun ideas you can start implementing this 4th of July, then make them annual traditions you can return to year after year.Celebrating the birth of America’s independence doesn’t have to involve harming your health. There are plenty of ways to mark this holiday in style while promoting your longevity, not detracting from it. Click To Tweet
- Have fun with a 4th-themed workout session. What’s the 4th of July without some festive red, white, and blue attire? Host a patriotic-costume workout session with family and friends—whether it takes place on your front lawn, in the comfort of indoor air-conditioning, or even on Zoom. You’ll enjoy together time and get the blood pumping. Plus, since exercise has been shown to offer mood-boosting benefits, it’s a great idea to schedule this for earlier in the day. It’ll set the tone for a full holiday of happier celebrations. Just make sure you stay hydrated in the summer heat!
- Cook with family. Cookouts are a key feature of 4th of July celebrations, but that doesn’t mean they have to revolve around energy-sapping meals. Why not whip up some incredible summertime-friendly, 4th of July-themed recipes that bring the festivity without the junk food? You can try healthier takes on traditional favorites like chicken salad, chips, and popsicles, all fittingly decked out in shades of red, white, and blue for the holiday. If you’re hitting the grill, keep in mind the recommended tips for healthier grilling, or try refashioning your traditional burger with a seafood-based option, using salmon or mahi mahi instead of beef. When the temperatures are soaring (and they probably are), you can also reach for cooling foods that help you beat the heat, like watermelon, tomatoes, and cucumbers—they’re both refreshing and hydrating.
- Create teams and start your own 4th of July Olympics! There are so many backyard or beach games to choose from when creating an Olympics-style competition: volleyball, horseshoes, bocce ball, or badminton, for example. But you can also mix up the activities with less athletically aligned competitions that create fun for the entire family, such as a water balloon toss, a water gun showdown, cornhole, or horseshoes. Separate into teams and keep score throughout, offering a health-promoting prize for the winners, like a gift card to the local health-food store or a free week trial at the gym. By offering a prize that pays some health benefits forward, you’ll offer your friends and family a gift that keeps on giving, perhaps even cementing healthier habits for the rest of the year and beyond!
- Support the troops. The 4th of July understandably ushers in feelings of pride in our country, so it’s a great idea on this holiday to honor the men and women who have made our freedoms possible. Organizations like the USO have plenty of ideas on how to support the troops on this holiday and year-round: sending a care package or thank-you note, or volunteering or donating to services that help those in the military and their families. This can be a great way for kids to get involved, too—ask them to help assemble packages, write out a letter, or draw a picture to brighten the day of veterans or those who currently serve.
- Watch some fireworks. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, fireworks injuries spiked during the pandemic, and 66% of the injuries in 2020 occurred in the month around the July 4th holiday. With a high potential for danger during backyard celebrations, it’s best to leave fireworks to the professionals. On the 4th, fireworks can be found in many towns, sometimes as part of local parades and festivals, which can be a great way to get outside for some community interaction, helping foster stronger ties with your neighbors. Grab some chairs and a cooler with ice-cold beverages, and head out for an unforgettable light show in the sky.
- Escape to a lake. According to a report in Neuroscience News, studies have shown that people living near water have a lower risk of premature death and obesity, while reporting better mental health and well-being in general. The calming effects of water are definitely a major benefit of hitting a lake on the 4th of July, but there can be physical advantages, too, if you break out some fun waterside activities like Frisbee or flag football (no tackling or head injuries!), or go for an invigorating swim to cool off on a hot day. Enjoy some cleaner air, observe local wildlife and fauna, or simply hit a hammock with a book in hand. What could be more patriotic than soaking up some of our country’s stunning natural beauty?
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If you’re struggling and need professional help, Amen Clinics is here for you. We offer in-clinic brain scanning and appointments, as well as mental telehealth, remote clinical evaluations, and video therapy for adults, children, and couples. Find out more by speaking to a specialist today at 888-288-9834 or visit our contact page here.