Summer is the most popular time of year for family vacations, weekend barbeques, and well-deserved downtime. Part of beating the heat is finding ways to stay cool and comfortable inside, and often this means loading up on sugar-loaded lemonades or maybe even a big bowl of ice cream.
This may be the season of relaxation, but that doesn’t mean it needs to be the season of relaxed goals or weight gain. If you play your cards right, you can actually take advantage of those long summer evenings and make the most out of the season by improving your fitness routine while enjoying the local attractions that summer provides.
Healthy Summer Fun
First and foremost, know that there is nothing wrong with accepting a few barbeque invitations or planning a fun vacation this summer. There is no rule that says you have to give up on your friends and family if you want to stay healthy. But know going in that if you do decide to go to social events, you will be confronted with temptations, and it will be up to you to manage your food choices and to stay active—even if that means getting out of the beach chair and walking around a bit in the sun.
Here are a few strategies that will help you manage it all:
- Plan your meals ahead of time and know when you are going to be away from your healthy choices. Do your best to eat before going to a social event. If you are going to a barbeque, bring along a healthy dish that you know you can eat.
- When planning your vacations, do your best to plan some active time along with your downtime. Instead of spending all day at the beach, make a plan to explore a local park or to walk around the neighborhood. Even a theme park can mean thousands of steps added to your day, so long as you stay away from the snack stands!
- Make hydration your top priority. Too often people mistake their thirst for hunger and end up overeating when really all they needed was a glass of ice water.
If your summer plans are looking more oriented to staying at home, that doesn’t mean you are off the hook. Sitting around the house with open-access to fridge and pantry can be tough on your waistline. If you are going to stay home this summer, you need to set rules for yourself to eat right and stay active. Make plans to explore local parks, like the Eldorado Park or the aquatic center at McDowell Mountain Ranch Park. Take the kids to the McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park or take a short drive to the Red Rock State Park to do some exploring. Getting out and moving around is the best way to ensure that you are staying healthy this summer.