Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Launch a Healthy (Realistic) Summer

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by Michelle Sutton-Kerchner

The time of year for fun and relaxation has arrived. Be energized to make the most of it …

Summer promises nice weather, vacation days, and casual gatherings on the patio with friends and family. We approach this new season with an expanse of calendar days ahead of us, ready to be filled with good times, tank shirts, and radiant sunshine everywhere. Before the final school bell rings or office summer hours begin, prepare yourself. Life is not a postcard.

Accept Yourself

Ready for those summer clothes? It's okay if you're not quite there yet.
Ready for those summer clothes? It’s okay if you’re not quite there yet.

If you dug into your summer clothes anxious to see a year’s worth of workout results revealed, realize a snug zipper or two is not a sign of failure. We often expect too much, too fast from ourselves, especially regarding fitness efforts. Accept that your beach body is a work in progress, which is great since you reside in the same body all year. Do not spend a single sunny day lamenting the smaller size you hoped to accomplish. Do another round of personal training sessions and try again.

Fitness is part of a healthy lifestyle, which goes beyond sculpted biceps and unrealistic body imagery. Focus more on the health benefits gained than the weight not yet lost.

Stretch

Stretch before you jump in!
Stretch before you jump in!

Too many vacations end before they begin. It might be the result of careless luggage lifting, a stiff slap from a cold wave, or an overzealous kick-off game of backyard volleyball. Don’t take a break from fitness smarts. Always stretch before any physical exertion.

Warm weather loosens muscles, which provides the perfect condition to stretch. Your body is probably already warm from simply being outdoors. Take it a step further and spend at least five minutes stretching all muscle groups. This could save you from a pulled back or jarred neck as you set out for summer fun. Treat physical activity as you would an official workout. Stretch and ease into it.

Control Your Schedule

Make time for your favorites.
Make time for your favorites.

Summer can feel like its own workout, rushing from intervals of work, play, camp, vacation, cookouts, and back to work again. Save circuit training for the Fitness Floor. You’ll need its intensity to keep up with this season’s pace. Build your stamina and strength to make the most of summer’s long, often not-so-lazy days.

As for your calendar, prioritize your favorite activities. Don’t let summer events dictate how you spend your time. When something like a backyard barbeque starts to feel like an obligation, it’s time to politely decline. “Too much of a good thing” tends to happen as we try to stuff excess fun, sun, and daytrips into summer. If you began scheduling your summer in April, putting off everything from dinner with friends to an overdue oil change, by July you will be overwhelmed. By August, you will be exhausted. And in September, you’ll wonder what happened to summer.

Work Out to Cool Off

Use the summer heat as motivation to work out! Sounds crazy, but think aquatic workouts. Keep cool in the pool, ocean, or lake while accomplishing some extra exercise. The water is refreshing while simultaneously offering resistance and gentleness. Easy on the joints, you can manage a strenuous workout without excess stress and heat exhaustion.

Cooling off is a great excuse to work out!
Cooling off is a great excuse to work out!

Don’t discount the caloric burn of yard chores and car-washing, which rely on hose water to tackle the task. When was the last time you cooled off under a sprinkler or had a hose fight? Get moving with a workout in cool disguise!

Your workout is also a great excuse to take advantage of air conditioning. When it’s hot and sunny outside, we often feel obligated to soak it up. Head indoors guilt-free. Use your workout as an excuse to spend time in the climate-controlled Center.

Know Your Limits

Be mindful. Listen to your body. Whether on the Fitness Floor or the beach, remind yourself tomorrow is another opportunity. Postcards are not realistic. Well-placed spandex, sunburn, and sudden storms are part of life. Live your best, even when you have not achieved a picture-perfect summer day.

Image Credits

Rainy picnic (introductory photo): pixabay.com/en/picnic-baltic-sea-children-papa-348126/

Swim shorts: pixabay.com/en/man-beach-red-shorts-bermudas-677584/

Beach stretch: pixabay.com/en/yoga-exercise-health-lifestyle-629867/

Datebook: pixabay.com/en/paper-calendar-planner-pen-606649/

Splash: pixabay.com/en/pool-swimming-pool-swim-underwater-519453/

 

 

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