Wow. Summer is already here! It seems like just days ago we were struggling with freezing winds and snow.
A few months ago, you probably counted down the days to warmer weather, when you could take off those sweaters and coats and show off all the hard work you had accomplished with your diet and exercise program.
Don’t let summertime be your downfall! Too many S’mores and fruity cocktails on the beach can undo a lot of your efforts to eat healthy and keep your weight down.
It’s still summer, however, and you want to enjoy it. We understand, which is why we’ve made this list of 10 of the best tips for staying fit in the hot summer months ahead.
Oh, by the way, those S’mores? Try Nutella instead of chocolate for an interesting change.
There is no harm done in enjoying a few drinks or having some much-anticipated desserts or meals while you are on vacation. After all, this is a time when you want to “let your hair down” as the old saying goes.
However, it’s all too easy to gain back 10 pounds on a two-week vacation and very difficult to drop it later. Ever notice how you can gain 10 pounds in two weeks but it takes 2 months to lose it again? Ugh.
Anyway, the easy way to avoid all the pitfalls of summer and still enjoy your vacation is pretty simple; just follow these pointers:
Don’t make exercise or smart eating a chore, just make it a part of your everyday life, even when on vacation and you should avoid the vacation weight gain blues.
Don’t forget to reward yourself for getting in at least a little exercise while you are on vacation, just don’t make that rewarding item food related. Maybe buy yourself new workout shoes or get a massage, think flowers, not French fries!
Outdoor BBQ’s do not have to be all about the meat! Grill those veggies, friends, and eat plenty of them!
Grilling can make the most boring vegetable taste like a new treat. Add a bit of olive oil and/or balsamic vinegar and drop those on the grill (or use a grill basket for smaller veggies).
Fill your plate with a huge helping of grilled veggies, such as zucchini, tomatoes, mushrooms, red bell peppers, tomatoes, even green onions (including the green tops) first, before the meat, before the French fries, before the potato salad. This way, you are sure to eat fewer Doritos or corn chips later in the evening.
Let’s be honest; too many of us use camping as an excuse to pig out on candy, chips, hot dogs, and Twinkies. Think healthy meals like:
Yes, you can still enjoy a S’more, just don’t eat a dozen.
One of the best ways to stay healthy in the summer season is to go outside and play! All too soon, the air will turn frosty and you won’t be able to go outside without bundling up.
Did you know that spending time outdoors in nature is a natural anti-depressant? A study done in 2015 found that those who walked for 90 minutes a day in nature showed less activity in the part of the brain that is associated with depression when compared to those who walked in an urban location.
There will be plenty of cold months to spend at the gym or to binge watch Bloodline on Netflix! Get outside and take a hike, go for a long walk, take up roller-blading, learn how to kayak or just play tag with your kids! The exercise and vitamin D will do wonders for both body and mind.
While there is nothing wrong with enjoying new places to eat this summer, most of us will still have to work and our weekend activities will be local.
You can prevent weight gain (not to mention save a fortune) by packing your own healthy food most of the time.
Whenever possible, eat breakfast at home or pack one to take with you to work. Lunch is also an easy meal to pack for and if you’ve never tried meal prep, this would be a good time to think about it. In one afternoon, you can cook healthy lunches for the next 4 days.
If you plan on going somewhere local, like a zoo or to a park, pack your own drinks (like fruit infused waters) and healthy snacks.
It only takes a few minutes to pack food to go but both your wallet and your waistline will thank you.
Summer tips for staying healthy include doing your workout in the morning. Summertime usually means more plans after work as well as warmer temps during the day. When you workout in the early morning, you free up your time to do other activities in the evening and you avoid the hottest part of the day.
Yes, this probably means getting up earlier, but the benefits will be worth it. This way, you won’t ditch your evening workout because someone offered you a better plan and you won’t need to feel guilty about not going. Get moving in the morning and get it done!
We’ve all been there, right? As an actor once said in a movie “I know what one beer leads to; more beer”. It’s true. How many times have you promised that you would only have X number of beers or drinks, but then gone over that limit?
You can avoid this with a program called the “one for one”. This means that for every alcoholic beverage you have, you drink a glass of water. This works remarkably well and saves you not only from drinking too much too fast but in helping you stick to your limit while out enjoying yourself.
One pound might not sound like much but when those little 1-pound bits add up, they certainly lead to a whole lot of pounds, don’t they?
The same is true with exercise. Small amounts of efforts might not seem like much, but they will absolutely add up!
This means take the stairs instead of the escalator or elevator, park further away and walk to your destination, stand or pace while talking on the phone, and go walking outside on your lunch breaks.
There is something about summertime that seems to bring out the bread in everyone. Restaurants start offering more breadsticks and bread baskets, everyone starts bringing to fruit filled (read sugar filled) pastries to work or ordering pizza for lunch every day and, oh yes, those lemon poppyseed bagels are suddenly sitting at everyone’s breakfast table, right?
What is it about summer that makes people think of bread?
Stop the bread train. Tell the waiters to please NOT bring bread to your table. Pass on the breadsticks and the plate of pretzels. It’s hard to do, we agree, but try your best to just say no to multiple servings of bread every day.
Summer means carefree living at it’s finest. This doesn’t mean you should just let your health go to pot over the next few months!
Vitamin D from the sun is a super healthy idea, but don’t forget sunscreen. Insects transmit disease, so wear DEET and don’t forget a hat and sunglasses.
If you are diabetic, take your medication, get exercise, and watch your diet. Take your supplements and stay hydrated. Don’t use summer as an excuse to put off staying healthy and being proactive about your health!
What other summer tips do you have for staying healthy?
Dr. Brent Wells has been a trusted chiropractor since moving his family from Oregon to Alaska back in 1998 and founded Better Health Chiropractic & Physical Rehab – B.S. from Univ. of Nevada, Doctorate from Western States Chiropractic College, volunteer for Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Foundation, and member of the American Chiropractic Association. As a chiropractor his focus is on family, including his 3 children and wife of 20+ years, his clinics, and ongoing education.