During those warm summer months, where evenings and weekends are spent often times with good company, around a bonfire or pool with a drink in hand surrounded with a wide variety of foods, it may seem rather impossible to stick to a healthy routine. People look forward to summer where the days are warmer and longer. After winter, and trying to prepare for swimsuit season, how do you continue a healthy lifestyle while enjoying all summer has to offer?
Here are the top 6 ways to improve your health during the summer while enjoying it!
1. Get outside- After a long winter, you look forward to nothing more than being able to go outside without freezing, having to wear four layers of clothing, and tromp through 2 feet of snow. Summer is a great time to get outside, enjoy nature, and soak up some vitamin D. During the winter months, we rely on getting vitamin D through food, or supplement. Summer is also a time when people decide to take their workouts outside rather than a gym or at home. Walking, running, biking, or even a circuit in your backyard. It can be much more fun riding or running on trails than a stationary machine indoors. Exercise can be as simple as just playing tag in the backyard with the kids, or going on a nature hike, get the whole family involved. Get a walking or running group together in your neighborhood to encourage you to stick to it!
2. Eat well- Eat all the fruits and vegetables! When looking up recipes for “summer meals” ones that are full of fresh fruits and vegetables pop up. Kebabs, noodles with grilled chicken and veggies, and lots of salads! Tip: try planting a garden, even just a small one. Plant a variety of lettuce for fresh salads, green beans, zucchinis, summer squash, and cucumbers! Experiment with various plants and see what you can grow best. Being able to go grab a handful of lettuce and veggies to throw together to make a quick salad is the best!
3. Stay hydrated- Those summer days can get HOT! It’s so important to stay hydrated, whether you’re mowing the lawn, boating, or sitting by the pool. Water makes up 60% of your body weight. Like a plant, your body needs water to survive. Every cell in your body needs water for body systems to function properly from your immune system to your metabolism and everything in between. Water removes toxins and wastes through urination or sweating, helps to lubricate joints, maintains your body’s temperature, and protects tissues. The more you sweat the more water your body needs to replenish the lost fluids.
4. Skin care- Adopting a healthy skin care regime is something many people do, whether it’s to control acne, reduce wrinkles, or just moisturize. Summer is a time you need to especially focus on taking care of your skin. During the summer months, the sun’s rays hit the earth at a steep angle which doesn’t allow the light to spread out much. This means that the amount of energy hitting one spot is increased. With your skin being exposed to this sunlight, it’s important to use good sunscreen to protect your skin from being sunburnt. The Academy of Dermatology recommends using SPF 30 or higher, and reapplying every 2 hours, more frequently if swimming or sweating heavily.
5. Stress less- Reducing stress is important not only for your mental health but also your physical health. Stress can have a negative impact on your immune system function, putting you at risk for catching illnesses and even putting you at a higher risk for cardiovascular disease. Trying to limit your stress during the summer can be stressful just thinking about it! Start by taking time for you, set aside even just 15-30 minutes (more if you are able) a day for ‘you time.’ Wake up before the kids, or take time after they go to bed. Take time to exercise, do yoga, read a book, whatever it may be. Even going outside barefoot in the grass, or putting your hands in the soil to plant a garden, may help to reduce stress because it’s a way of grounding! (See our blog post: Time to Get Grounded) Don’t feel selfish or guilty for taking ‘you time,’ you deserve it!
1. Drink smart- Previously we touched on making sure you drink enough water to be properly hydrated, now let’s talk about drinking smart when it comes to alcoholic beverages! Summertime is the prime time to have a drink in hand at social gatherings around the bonfire, pool, concerts etc. Drinks can be a way to add up calories quickly without even knowing. You can easily consume 500-1000 calories or more after a night of drinking, especially when you order a pizza after, followed by the big breakfast the next morning to help with the hangover. So, what drinks are considered “healthy” that won’t completely sabotage your week of eating healthy and exercising? Drinks such as beer or margaritas are very high in carbohydrates and the calories can add up quickly, however there are lower calorie options. Below is the calorie content of various liquors:
Vodka – 64 Calories per 1 oz Whiskey – 70 Calories per 1 oz
Rum – 64 Calories per 1 oz Champagne- 87 Calories per 1 glass
Brandy – 65 Calories per 1 oz Light beer- 110 Calories per 1 can
Gin – 73 Calories per 1 oz White wine- 120 Calories per 5 oz
Tequila – 65 Calories per 1 oz Red wine- 125 Calories per 5 oz
Calories that come from alcohol are considered “empty calories” meaning they have no nutritional value.
Be sure if you do choose to drink, to drink responsibly.
CHEERS to a Healthy Summer!