The kids are out of school, and the temperature is climbing. It must be summertime in northern Virginia! With nicer weather and longer days, summer can be a great time to refocus on your fitness routine and health goals. But with the added heat and humidity it’s also important to keep safety in mind as you and your family get outside and get moving.

Keep you and your family on track to optimal health this summer by following these tips.

Create some friendly competition

Summertime is a great time to infuse a little competition into your daily routine. I recently challenged more than 50 executives in the northern Virginia area to a two-week step challenge. During that time we tried to see who could get the most steps – and with bragging rights and $3,000 for charity on the line, everyone put in the extra effort to step it up! You can do the same with your friends and family this summer by starting your step challenge. With warmer weather, the summer is the perfect time to get outdoors, explore your neighborhood and dominate your own leaderboard! So what are you waiting for?

Stay safe in the sun

It goes without saying, but with the heat and humidity we get in the D.C., Maryland and Virginia area it’s important to pay close attention to how your body and mind are feeling. Whether you’re outside for a cookout or soaking up some rays at the beach you may not realize it but with the additional heat, your body needs more water to stay hydrated and healthy. Be sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day and apply sunscreen frequently. For additional tips and information on staying safe in the sun, take a look at the CDC’s summer health tips here. From applying insect repellent to making sure you have Coast Guard approved life jackets on deck for your next boating tip these tips will help keep the fun coming and the chaos at bay!

Traveling this summer? Be prepared.

There’s nothing worse on a family vacation than an unexpected illness or injury. Whether you’re heading to the beach, or off on a family road trip take the time before you leave to write down your primary care physician’s phone number. I also recommend taking a few minutes to familiarize yourself with what’s covered in your health plan; many insurers like Innovation Health cover remote telemedicine visits that may save you time and money on your vacation. When you arrive at your vacation destination familiarize yourself with the nearest hospital and urgent care centers. Our Urgent Care vs. Emergency Room decision tree can help you decide where the right point of care is for you. Download your copy here to make sure unexpected medical issues don’t derail your summertime plans.

No matter what‘s on your seasonal agenda, staying healthy should always be at the top of the list. By keeping the above tips in mind, you can prioritize your health and have a happy, healthy summer.

About Innovation Health

Innovation Health provides health benefit plans to more than 200,000 members. The product of a unique Aetna and Inova Health System partnership, Innovation Health began offering health benefit plans in October of 2013 as a new way to deliver and finance more affordable, quality health care for employers and individuals in Northern Virginia. Through our integrated care model, Innovation Health combines a premier health plan, health system, and physicians for improved health outcomes and cost savings.

Innovation Health plans are available to individuals and businesses of all sizes in Arlington County, Clarke County, Fairfax County, Frederick County, Loudon County, Page County, Prince William County, Shenandoah County, Spotsylvania County and Stafford County. Individuals residing in these counties can purchase health plans directly from Innovation Health at or through the Virginia Exchange website for the 2017 open enrollment. For more information on Innovation Health, our plans and how we can help you, visit our website.