As the weather gets warmer and the days get longer, you know that summer is right around the corner. Summer is a season favorite- with so many social gatherings and making unforgettable memories. But amidst all of the fun, it can be challenging to prioritize your health and well-being all year round, especially in the summer. By adopting healthy habits and managing your health year-round, you can fully embrace the joys of summer while ensuring long-term wellness. Keep reading to learn 5 effective strategies to prepare you for a social summer and feel confident about managing your health year round, by Registered Dietitian, Chelsea Rice.
1. Practice balanced nutrition.
Maintaining a healthy balanced diet is key to managing your health year round. Although it might seem simple, this is one area that so many individuals struggle to stay consistent with through the summer months. Emphasize whole foods, including fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains. When preparing a meal or eating at a social gathering, aim to fill your plate with a mix of all of the above. Take advantage of seasonal produce, eat the rainbow, and shop at your local farmers market! If you are attending a social gathering where you are able to bring a food item, bring a healthy dish that will keep you feeling your best. If you’re looking for recipe inspiration, check out two of our favorites:
On top of balancing your plate and prioritizing healthy foods, make sure to also stay hydrated through the summer months by drinking plenty of water and fluids. Adding fruit and fresh herbs to water is a great way to add a fun twist to bland water.
2. Move more.
It may be common knowledge that regular exercise is essential for maintaining optimal health, but with travel and social events, movement can sometimes take the backburner. But the summer months are the perfect time to get outside and move your body more. Find activites that you enjoy, whether it’s swimming, cycling, hiking, or walking, and incorporate them into your routine consistently. The CDC recommends 150 minutes of moderate-intense aerobic activity OR 75 minutes of vigorous physical aerobic activity per week. They also recommend aiming to get in at least 2 or more days a week of strength training, working all major muscle groups.
3. Manage your stress.
Summer can include fun social engagements and travel, but sometimes both of those things can also lead to heightened stress levels. During busy summer months (and all year round), don’t hesitate to delegate tasks or ask for help when needed. Also, ensure you are taking time for yourself and prioritize stress management techniques including meditation, exercise, and/or engaging in hobbies that bring you joy. By effectively managing stress, you’ll be able to fully enjoy the social summer without compromising your health.
4. Prioritize sleep.
With more daylight and social activities, it is common to see a decrease in your sleep during the summer months. Remember, sleep is crucial for both physical and mental health. Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep each night to allow your body to rest and repair. By establishing a consistent sleep schedule, creating a sleep-friendly environment, and practicing relaxation techniques before bed, you will help to improve your sleep and feel rejuvenated. A well-rested body and mind will allow you to make the most of the daytime summer activities while also keeping your overall health and well-being in check.
5. Stay safe in the sun.
Soaking up the sun might be one of your summer highlights, but it is essential to protect your skin from harmful UV rays. Always remember to apply sunscreen daily, wear protective clothing, and seek shade during the peak hours of sunlight. Taking these precautions will help you to reduce your risk of skin cancer as well as premature aging.
Prioritizing your health year-round can help you fully embrace the joys of summer while maintaining long-term wellness. By adopting these 5 healthy habits, you can ensure that you’re prepared for a fun-filled healthy summer. So, go ahead and enjoy the social summer, knowing that you’ve taken the necessary steps to prioritize and manage your health throughout the year.