Here are some very fundamental ways of optimizing your health and fitness that come under the easy and do-able category. Although the summer can be the best time to get active and eat right, it also can be the easiest time to get sidetracked with barbecues, wine spritzers and ice cream.
So here are some handy ideas to do the season right and come through in the best shape ever.
Working your core involves way more than just doing some crunchies to get the “six pack,” since the core helps supports your spine and involves muscles that enhance back health. Try doing some planks and some oblique work as well as your usual crunchies.
The new recommended number of steps per day is 15,000 steps rather than the older suggestion of 10,000 steps per day. This works out to be about 7 miles per day and research has shown that those who do achieve this number consistently have better BMI rates, a healthier metabolic rate, and a better waist/hip ratio. Because it is summer, it is easy to take the cardio work outside and go for a nice long hike. Don’t forget the sunscreen and the water!
Yoga is an anytime, anywhere activity that knows no season, and the fact that people have been practicing yoga for thousands of years has to tell you something. Stretching, performing slow controlled movements and really connecting the body and mind together through movement not only does a body good but also does your mind and emotions good too.
The workouts are important, but so is the rest. Cardio work should be done every day to get and stay fit. Resistant training should be done two to three times a week and you shouldn’t work the same muscle group two days in a row. This means doing upper body one day, doing lower body the next, so that your muscles have a chance to rest and repair.
Speaking of resting, it is important for optimal health to get enough shut-eye. Although each individual’s need for sleep varies somewhat, it is generally considered that the minimum amount of sleep per night for an adult should be around 7 hours. You know when you wake up rested. So, don’t skimp on the rest; it is a necessary component of good health.
Summertime means even more fresh fruit and veggies, although here we don’t suffer from a shortage at any time. Some great fruit available in the summer include avos which have very healthy fats in them. As long as you can afford the calories indulge, the fats are good for you, taste great and will keep you full longer.
Also make sure that you keep well hydrated in the summer. Lots of water. Take your weight in pounds divide by two and that’s how many ounces of water you should consume. Remember that we have very poor thirst detectors and by the time you feel thirsty you are already dehydrated.
Also, sometimes we mistake thirst for hunger. Drink first and see if you aren’t really thirsty. Lucky us, we have local fresh coconuts; the coconut water is one of the best ways to slake your thirst because of the electrolytes it contains.
If you do overdo it at a summer event, doing a detox/cleanse day to reduce the negative effects is easier in the summer too. Fresh fruit, smoothies made with fruits and high-quality protein and salads can help your body repair and ease your digestive system.
Most people actually tend to eat less in the summer, simply because the choices are lighter fare and it feels too hot to cook big meals. By keeping portions smaller, and using healthy fruits to fill up and add fiber to your diet, summer can be the best time to lose some weight and shape up. Salty snacks usually have less appeal in the summer too, which is good, because they tend to dehydrate the body which is the last thing you need in the hotter months.
If you do decide to drink some alcohol (it is dehydrating as well) go one-for-one with water. That way you will not overdo the alcohol consumption and end up feeling sick. The lightest drink in terms of calories is rose and prosecco with only 80 calories per 4 ounces.
Diluting the wine with water or fruit juice makes for a light drink that won’t ruin your diet or you the next morning. Being mindful with your exercise and your eating is important all year round. It just seems that summer is one of the best times to really get your program started.
Dr. Jane Riley, EdD., is a certified personal fitness trainer, nutritional adviser and behavior change specialist. She can be reached at email@example.com, 212-8119 cell/text and www.janerileyfitness.com.