No matter what stage of life you’re in, there’s no denying that the summer season signals vacation mode, lazy days lying around, and more grill-outs than you can count!
While there’s value in "taking a break" during the summer, there are also big benefits to sticking with your routines. Then, when fall brings the hustle and bustle of back-to-school and stricter schedules, your family won’t experience such a jolt.
Keeping up with your self-care also helps you maintain those healthy habits that help you live your best life. So, along with the healthy goals I’m always cheering you on towards, here are my 5 tips for the summer season:
1. Stay well-hydrated.
Since you sweat more during the warmer months, it’s especially important to give your body the fluid it needs. A good rule of thumb is to try drinking half your body weight in fluid ounces each day—and even more if you sweat a lot.
While water is definitely the ideal choice for most of your daily fluids, there are lots of options nowadays to help you hydrate—sparkling waters, fruit-infused water, and even some fruits and vegetables. Just be sure to keep sugary and caffeinated drinks to a minimum, as they can actually dehydrate you.
2. Set realistic intentions.
If you find that summer really throws off your routine, it’s likely that you haven’t adjusted for the inevitable changes that this season brings. With vacations, camps, and long, hot days, you should allow for some leeway. But thinking ahead and setting realistic goals is key to staying on track. For example, I recommend you look at your weekly schedule before grocery shopping and meal planning. This critical step allows you to think through what and how much you're going to need to stick to healthier eating.
3. Splurge, but not too much.
Food choices aren’t as easy as “only eat this” and “never eat that." Eating is associated with pleasure, and that’s okay, but don’t let your summer get the best of you because you said yes to all the things. Remember that every "yes" is also a "no" to something else.
You might try the 80/20 approach. This means that 80% of the time you’re fueling your body with the nutrition it needs, and 20% of the time you're allowing for more fun in your diet.
4. Try a cooler workout.
If the thought of your typical run makes you want to play hooky, then try shaking it up a bit with something that will encourage you to stay active during the hottest months. Consider checking out something like water fitness classes or a virtual workout indoors in the AC. Even adjusting your workout to take place during cooler hours (early in the morning or later in the evening) could be a big help. And don’t forget the kiddos! It’s recommended that children get at least 60 minutes of physical activity each day.
5. Protect your skin.
Your skin is the largest organ of your body and needs summertime TLC, too. Taking care of it is key to a healthy summer. Did you know that skin cancer is the most common type? Reduce your risk by seeking shaded areas, wearing protective clothing (including hats and sunglasses), and using sunscreen. It’s recommended that you pick a broad-spectrum sunscreen (one that blocks UVA and UVB rays).
What’s your favorite summer hack for sticking to healthy habits? Is there a healthy living topic you have questions about? Tell us on Facebook!
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A version of this blog originally appeared on the YMCA of Middle Tennessee's website.