Sunday, January 21, 2018

Seasonal Health Advantages

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by Michelle Sutton-Kerchner

Health has its “home field advantage” in upcoming months. Unlike its counterpart, cold and flu season, spring and summer offer prime conditions for getting healthier. Make the most of them …

It’s the perfect time of year to develop healthy habits. Weather and crops are both ripe for it. Focus on the season’s positives. In other words, forget about swimsuit stress and vacation expenses. Get your healthy on!

The Food

Looks like local!

T’is no longer the season of holiday cookies, pies, mashed potatoes, and stuffing. Instead, the produce aisle grows strong over the next several months. Take advantage of the farm-to-fork opportunities available in your own neighborhood stores and stands.

Grills are being fired up to create flavorful protein options. Cook enough lean-cut meats to use in salads for additional meals. Invest in a grilling tray and add fresh veggies to the fire. These work great as sides as well as toppings for entrees like whole-grain pastas, rice, and quinoa. Now is the time to make vegetables the focus of your meals.

Investigate fun desserts that use fruit as their sweet ingredient. Each week, a different fruit makes its annual appearance on the shelves. Top your favorites on frozen yogurt or lightly sweetened wafers. Enjoy alone as a refreshing close to a meal. Slice and save extras to top on cereal, yogurt, or cottage cheese for breakfast or lunch.

Easy herbs.


Grow your own! You don’t need a green thumb to have a small potted garden. Many herbs grow with abandon like weeds. There is a wholesome feeling enjoyed when snipping fresh mint for homemade iced tea or basil for a salad. Healthy eating is fun and convenient when you are reaping the rewards of your own labor.

One study found less than 10 percent of Americans eat the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables. It’s the season to kick that statistic to the curb!

The Weather

Cold, snowy days are typically not motivating. However, sunny, warm weather has taken center stage. Let it shine down on you. Longer daylight hours make an active lifestyle easier, whether managing an evening walk or trying the after-dinner kickboxing class you’ve been considering.

Start a new habit of early morning walks before the day turns too hot. Do yoga with the sunrise or sunset. A Center yoga instructor can provide a series of poses to awaken or unwind your day.

Set stormy-day fitness goals.

Ask a personal trainer to demonstrate exercises to train for your daily activities. You can improve your golf swing, transform your jog into a run, or perfect your swim stroke with the right fitness program. Maybe you’ll be inspired to train for a fall marathon. (Or fun run. Ramble?)

Set stormy-day goals. For every spring storm, try something new at the Center. Jump in an Aquakinetics class, learn how to use a different piece of equipment, incorporate kettlebells, and try a new Group Fitness class. If it’s a particularly turbulent season, you could have a whole new fitness repertoire by fall.

The Attitude

Warm months generally have a more casual vibe. Perhaps the heat helps cultivate this chill attitude. No one wants to add emotional heat to the escalating outdoor temperature. It’s also a peak time for vacations and outdoor gatherings. Schedules tend to be more flexible, especially for those with school-aged children.

Soak in the healthy season.

Take advantage of the upcoming summer lifestyle to cultivate healthy habits with family and friends. Spend a day hiking, surfing, skimboarding (just carrying that thing is a workout!), or riding bikes. Plan active outings with friends and family. You’ll improve your health and that of your relationships.

Work on reducing stress over long holiday weekends or vacations. It’s the season for relaxing walks, fresh air, and chats on the patio. Shut down your gadgets and be mindful of the moment. Before you realize it, the place where you sit to soak up the sun will be covered with snow.


“Go Green for Better Health,” by Erica Patino at

Image Credits

Fresh fruit:

Fresh vegetables:


Rainy bike:

Beach joy:

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