They aren’t called the lazy days of summer for nothing. Long stretches of sunshine and outdoor cooking. Parties by the pool. Holiday weekends. So much food and drink! If you aren’t careful, your wholesome eating habits will take a backseat to having fun. Your O2 Fitness membership helps keep you on the right track, along with these other tips for a healthy summer.
Summer’s a great time to eat light. The heat, humidity and outdoor activities can wear you out. You don’t want to fill your stomach with heavy food. Fresh fruit and vegetables (fresh or cooked on the grill) are nutritious and tasty. They naturally contain more water, helping you stay hydrated. And they’re available in abundance at peak flavor during the summer months from local farmers markets and roadside stands. Keep your proteins lean, like chicken, fish or beans. Try incorporating meatless Mondays into your weekly meals. Skipping meat can help lower your blood pressure and reduce your risk for certain diseases.
While you’re looking for new recipes to cook light summer meals, leave out the salt and add herbs instead. Even better, grow your own herb garden! It won’t take up much space and you can create it indoors, on a windowsill, or outdoors, in a garden. Some people even include herbs in their landscaping. Plants that thrive in the Carolinas include basil (the most popular summer herb), lemon thyme, spearmint, and rosemary. Get creative when cooking with these herbs and take pride in knowing that you’re growing your own food!
Motivation can be a struggle when it’s hot and humid. You may put outdoor workouts, like running or biking, on hold when temperatures climb. Summer is an excellent time to join a gym, such as O2 Fitness. Decide what’s most important to you when it comes to workouts. Do you want a personal trainer? Group classes? Several available fitness methods? How about the ability to bring a friend? A gym with a guest policy lets you bring a buddy, who can decide if they want to join, too. You can work out together and encourage each other to keep going. With many locations in the Carolinas and so many workouts to offer, O2 Fitness will help you find the perfect fitness center for you.
Keep Mentally Fit
We all know how important physical fitness is to our body. It can help prevent heart disease and diabetes, keep blood pressure down and improve our ability to burn calories. Mental fitness is equally important. Exercising your mind increases your ability to reason and solve problems. Keeping your brain active helps retain brain cells and connections and even produce new brain cells. So how do you do a mental workout? Read, meditate, do word puzzles, take up a manual activity and try new things. Eat (and cook) new foods. Meet new people and have stimulating conversations. Travel to new places. Putting this into practice boosts your emotional well-being and calms you down.
Protect Your Eyes
One of the best things about summer is all the time spent outside. Most of us slather on the sunscreen without thinking about it but are you protecting your eyes, too? Harmful UV rays from the sun may damage your eyes over the years, creating a higher risk for cataracts, macular degeneration, and problems with the whites of the eyes. The sun is even brighter when you’re at the beach or a pool, as it reflects off the water. Save your eyes by wearing sunglasses with 100% UVA and UVB protection. Wear a hat with a brim or visor. And stay indoors during peak sun times, if possible.
Cut Back Drinking
Drinks on the beach. Cocktails by the pool. Beer at the family barbecue. Summer is prime time for alcohol. Having a beverage here or there won’t hurt you but don’t overdo it. Hot sun plus alcohol equals dehydration. Heat causes us to sweat. Alcohol causes excessive urination. Together, they can lead to heatstroke. Also, if you’re drinking too much, you may not feel like eating and your body may not get the nutrition it needs. Drinking also impairs balance, coordination, and decision-making, which may lead to some unhealthy choices.