Healthy (and fun!) things to do this July — from the Summer Olympics to National Ice Cream Day

A photo illustration off various July events, including ice cream, fireworks and Olympians.
It's July! Here's some feel-good reminders to make your month a blast. (Photo illustration: Katie Martin for Yahoo News; photos: Getty Images)

We’ve made it to July — which means summer is officially in full swing. Consider keeping these feel-good reminders on your radar this month:

😷 Consider masking up. COVID-19 is once again making the rounds, and experts say it's worth considering a mask if you're high-risk or in a crowded, indoor location while local case counts are high.

🎇 Go easy on the at-home fireworks. Hitting up a roadside fireworks stand for some sparklers or Black Cat firecrackers is a time-honored tradition for many Americans — but it’s also unsafe and almost certainly annoying your neighbors (especially the ones with kids, dogs or an aversion to loud noises or disrupted sleep). Instead, consider celebrating July Fourth at a public fireworks display in your community — and bring headphones or earplugs to protect the kids’ (or your own) hearing.

🍉 Use your melon. If you’re stocking up on sweet, juicy watermelons this summer — and you should, because they’re hydrating and packed with antioxidants and nutrients including vitamins A and C — make sure you’re giving the rind a thorough wash before eating. Recent testing from Consumer Reports found that watermelons were among the fruits and vegetables with the highest risk of pesticides. Even if you aren’t planning to eat the thick rind (though, for the record, you can — consider pickling it or turning it into kimchi), experts recommend using cool water and a scrub brush (no soap or detergents needed) to remove dirt, bacteria and pesticides before cutting up your watermelon. You can now safely sink your teeth into a fresh wedge — or whip up a fun summertime recipe like watermelon poke. Bonus: It'll help cool you down in the heat.

🥬 Hail, Caesar. In addition to being America’s birthday, this July Fourth also marks the centennial of the Caesar salad. Yep, we’ve been eating these crunchy, creamy salads for 100 years, and while there’s a mixed response to just how healthy they are, getting more greens is never a bad thing. Just go easy on the dressing (or opt for a low-fat version) and add a protein (grilled chicken, salmon, shrimp) to get more out of your meal. And watch out for those raw eggs in the dressing!

👩🏽‍⚕️ Support BIPOC Mental Health. July is BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and people of color) Mental Health Month, which is intended to lift up communities of color as they navigate the stress associated with historical trauma, systemic racism and other unique challenges. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Office of Health Equity, this is a good time for BIPOC individuals to prioritize their well-being and focus on healthy coping strategies, while allies can offer support, listen and do their part to not perpetuate bias or microaggressions.

🍦 Have an ice cream. Sunday, July 21, is National Ice Cream Day, which means you might find deals at your local scoop shop. Now, ice cream may not be regarded as the healthiest treat, but many dietitians say it's perfectly fine in moderation — and you can always swap in strawberries or walnuts instead of sprinkles or chocolate sauce as a topping.

🏅 Take inspiration from the Olympics. The 2024 Summer Games kick off in Paris on July 26, running through Aug. 11. If you’re looking to shake up your summer fitness routine, this is a good place to start. Maybe it’s time to venture into the lap lane at your local pool, or finally learn how to dive. And you don’t need to be on Simone Biles’s level (because, frankly, who is?) to sign up for an adult gymnastics class. If nothing else, research finds that cheering on your country (or favorite athlete) can help strengthen community bonds and social identity.

👁️ See about those eyes. One appointment to make this July, aka Healthy Vision Month? An eye exam, which doctors recommend doing not just to determine whether you need glasses but to also check for any early signs of eye disease, such as glaucoma or age-related macular degeneration.

This article was originally published on July 1 and has been updated.