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By Jackie Silver, [Link Removed]

Remember a few short months ago when we were shivering in winter's chill and paying for heat? Well, Mother Nature gives us free heat in thesummer months, and we can use that to our advantage.

Exposing yourself to heat makes you sweat and that has many well-known health benefits. Sweating is said to increase circulation, cleanse pores, make muscles more supple and provide pain relief.

But did you know you can use summer's heat to help you look and feel more youthful, too?

Here are some [Link Removed] to help you take advantage of what Mother Nature has to offer:

1. Deep condition your hair.  When your hair cuticles become dry and damaged, it can result in a dull, frizzy look. Deep conditioning your hair allows the cuticles to lie flat, restoring shine and youth with longer-lasting results than you get by simply using conditioner in the shower for a few minutes.

On a particularly hot day, clip newly washed, towel-dried hair into sections. Release one section at a time, applying the conditioner of your choice to each section to ensure uniform coverage. It doesn't have to be exact; you just want to be sure you're not leaving out some very dry areas. Next, pile your hair on top of your head and apply plastic wrap or a plastic shower cap. (Note: Keep plastic away from your nose and mouth!) Then sit outside in the shade for about 15-20 minutes with a good book or magazine. Rinse out the conditioner and style as usual.

2. Enjoy a facial mask. Regular cleansing removes surface dirt and makeup, but a facial mask will draw out impurities from beneath the top layer of your skin. Using a mask helps to unclog pores and exfoliate the dead skin cells from your face. It also helps to stimulate circulation and, depending on the product, helps hydrate and protect your skin.

Using the product of your choice, apply the facial mask and sit outside in the shade on a hot day. If you're planning to deep condition your hair, you can save time by doing your hair and facial mask at the same time because many masks direct you to wash off after 15-20 minutes.

Here's an extra tip: Use some of the mask on the tops of your hands. They can show your age, too! Rinse mask according to the product directions and pat dry.

3. Get your Vitamin D.  Our bodies need Vitamin D for optimal calcium absorption. It's also been shown help to lower blood pressure, decrease the incidence of some cancers, boost the immune system and has other healthful benefits.

The best way to get Vitamin D is from the sun. Experts say 10 to 20 minutes a day in direct sunlight is all you need to keep your levels optimal.

Here's a tip: Nowhere in the medical books does it say I must expose my face, neck, chest and hands, which are the areas that can show age the most. So I keep those covered.

4. Exercise in the great outdoors.  Winter's harsh conditions can force us to get our exercise in the gym or at home for months on end. With summer comes the opportunity to enjoy fresh air and warmth while exercising.

I like to take a walk, do some yoga, or, if I'm feeling really energetic, take my jump rope outside for a quick workout.

Be careful when exercising outdoors if it's super hot. Do your workout in the morning or evening and avoid the hottest part of the day. Also, be sure to keep your water handy to stay hydrated.

5. Take a kids' exploration walk.  With the everyday hustle and bustle of work, family, friends, and taking care of the house, we rarely go walking just to "mosey" and see what there is to see. Stress relief is conducive to Aging Backwards, so take a half hour or an hour to just go outside on a beautiful summer day and explore at ground level.

I did that recently and here's what I saw: some gorgeous flowers; big, scaly lizards; a couple of cats and dogs; kids laughing and splashing in a pool; a shiny, red convertible, and a kids' swing set, which I took the liberty of trying out.

So, take time out this summer to enjoy the warmth and slower pace of the season.

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