Tips and Information on Healthy Living

Connect outdoors with friends and co-workers

Connecting with family, friends and co-workers feels good. Spending time outdoors with them is good for you, too. Research suggests that going outside can boost mental health and improve memory. When you connect with others for outdoor adventures, you build stronger social and emotional connections as well.

As long as the weather cooperates, there are endless opportunities for adding physical activity to your social events. here are a few ideas:

  • Have a picnic. Rather than eating out at a restaurant, eat outdoors. Pack a light meal - try veggie wraps or turkey sandwiches and fruit salad. Or pick up an array of freshly made salads from the farmer's market. Share the meal with family or friends at a park or beach.
  • Visit a berry farm. Berries are ripe for the picking this time of year. Go to a berry farm or fruit orchard that allows you to pick your own fruit. The exercise involved in hunting for berries is fun for the whole family.
  • Set up lawn bowling or croquet. People at parties naturally gravitate to the food table. Try an activity that gets people on their feet instead so everyone can enjoy some halthy competition.
  • Hike with a group. Bored with happy hour or poker parties? Change things up and suggest a "hiking hour" that takes you outdoors to park trails. It's a fun way to connect with nature and catch up with friends at the same time.
  • Have a water fight. If it's hot, why not? Turn on the hose and fill those buckets or balloons. There's no age limit for this game as long as you let yourself be spontaneous and silly.

Whatever you do, stay safe this summer: Keep an eye on severe weather, apply sunscreen and bug repellent, stay hydrated in the heat, wear a life preserver on the water, and wear a helmet when you ride.

Trim calories. No treadmill required.

If the treadmill isn't your thing, don't get discouraged. You can burn calories doing simple activities you enjoy. And cut calories from your diet by making a few simple switches. 

Click here for a cheat sheet on easy ways to burn and trim calories.

Want to lose weight? Healthy choices add up. You could lose one pound per week if you cut 500 calories from your typical diet each day. Make it to the 500 mark with more exercise, too. For example, burn an extra 250 calories with exercise and trim 250 calories from your diet.

Try this recipe for a delicious, low-calorie meal: Chicken Kebabs and Nectarine Salsa

Roll up your sleeve and fight disease

August is National Immunization Awareness Month. Getting vaccinated may seem like a small thing, but it can make you a hero.

Getting immunized doesn't just protect you. It protects those around you, too. Vaccines work because they knock out the spread of diseases. That way, fewer people get sick from the flu, whooping cough and other diseases.

Learn more about the vaccines you may need to protect yourself an others. Take this Vaccine Quiz.

Vaccines recommended for children and adults are often covered by most health plans at no cost. Check your health plan to learn about vaccines that are covered for you and your family.

Ready to fight the flu?
View the infographic.

Top of the Class

Did you know that an annual eye exam for children is as important as a physical at the pediatrician? Your kids need healthy eyes to reach their full potential, whether they're catching a pop fly in the outfield or reading in school. Set them up for success with annual visits to their eye doctor.

Children's eyes need to be examined for proper development, as well as for early detection of vision issues. Eye exams can also catch other health issues, like diabetes, before they cause further complications.

Children should have an eye exam once a year, starting at six months old. Healthy eyes are vital to children's physical, mental, and emotional development. Make sure they have all the tools to succeed by visiting your VSP doctor.

Looking for more eye care inromation? Visit for a sneak peek into September's observance along with other articles, tips, and special offers for VSP members only.

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