by Michelle Sutton-Kerchner
As schools reopen, pools close, and fall sports kick off, summer seems to fade as quickly as a tropical tan. Don’t pack your sandals yet, the calendar promises us a couple more weeks of summer …
The signs are there. Nature is doing its seasonal shifting, kids are boarding buses, teens’ lives are being stuffed into vans heading to college, and you somehow find yourself the new coach for community fall soccer. As we kicked off the summer, the “Summer How-To Guide” (http://fitnessandwellnessnews.com/health/summer-how-to-guide, F&W News, June 29, 2011) advised on how to make the most of its warm, long days.
How well did you do? Still trying to refresh yourself? Racing against the clock to soak in that sunny day? Here are some last-minute ideas on prolonging (or finally discovering) summer joy.
Go for a Swim
Pool closings abound as the burger buns from Labor Day cookouts grow stale. Not for Center members though! Shake the sand out of your swimsuit and head to the Center’s pool. It’s always the right temperature, regardless of rain, snow, or shine. Benefit from year-round water workouts or make a splash with the kids.
So many discover their “inner fish” during the summer, finding the lure of the water an amazing force. Don’t deprive yourself just because the seasons change. Whether you take a dip before your workout, incorporate an aquatics class into your routine, or finally learn the backstroke, continuing water play is an excellent way to enjoy warm-weather fun all year.
Create a Summer Soundtrack
Late in the summer, Starbucks distributed a summer mix of 10 free iTunes songs. Initially, this seemed a little past deadline. However, it’s actually right on target. As the summer wanes, let the memories inspire you to create a playlist of feel-good tunes. When January’s snow falls while you run the treadmill, flashback to warm, bright days with a song that takes you there. You can almost smell the sun lotion.
Keep the songs energetic and lively. You may be tempted to compile a list of sad songs as you reflect on days gone by. You know the ones, they seem to echo the ocean and magnify an empty summer scene. Instead of mellow, include peaceful soundtracks, perhaps ones that incorporate nature for days when cabin fever strikes. Chirping crickets and a bubbling stream can be powerful meditation motivators.
Fall brings its share of fundraising marathons, walkathons, and sports. Be ready with a body built for your next round of activities. Members often enjoy teaming up as they train for local running and walking events. We develop a camaraderie through the common goal. And, this goal propels us to take our workout to the next level. There’s nothing like a deadline of a marathon to keep you on track.
For a list of fall marathons, both near and far, check out http://running.about.com/od/marathonsandreviews/tp/fallmarathons. Choose one that appeals to you. Perhaps you’d like a little history with your run. Consider a route that includes a city’s historic section. Or, do a beach run! The Bike MS City to Shore Ride 2011 is on September 24 and 25. For details and registration, visit: http://bikepae.nationalmssociety.org/site/TR/Bike/PAEBikeEvents?fr_id=16131&pg=entry. Fine-tune your cycling routine and share your talents for this great cause.
If you’re a fall athlete, a personal trainer can share tips on how to strengthen and build stamina to excel at your sport. If the extent of your participation only includes spectatorship, your biceps can resemble those of a top-notch player as you pump a fisted hand in cheer.
Summerize Your Days
With brilliant colors and crisp air, the fall has its own appeal to get outside. Supplement your Center workout routine with a day spent creating an autumn garden or canoeing at a nearby park. The intense heat and humidity are heading out. Breathe in the fall in all its glory.
Your fitness routine provides the stamina needed for fall activities, as well as doing summer activities on fall days. The beach in September is peaceful, lovely, and still warm enough for a boogie board session. Pack a picnic dinner and end your day at a local park. Do the summer thing– Frisbee, check out cloud formations, and have a smoothie. You may not have had time for these little summer joys amidst a booked summer calendar. You are ready. Get going!
Have a Cookout
Not far from the retail-driven shelves of Halloween candy that’s appearing, you’ll find summer’s finest. Many summer crops produce well into September. Keep the grill fired up. The smell alone is a comfort when it’s dark earlier, reminiscent of longer days. Serve fresh veggies and fruit. There’s nothing like corn on the cob with a slice of watermelon to bring you back to a July evening. (Hint: Fresh corn tends to get sweeter later in the season.) Bake some fresh peaches with crumbled granola and oats for a cool evening with a summer flair.
Tomatoes are still ripening on local vines. Loaded with nutrients, top these deep red, in-season beauties on sandwiches, salads, pasta, and chicken. Make tomato salad, homemade bruschetta, or a summer sauce. At their peak, bite into them with a dash of salt by themselves. Their goodness is truly a taste of summer. Throw in some crunchy peppers and onions, also in season at summer’s end.
You don’t have to head to the canned food aisle. There’s still much to enjoy, fresh from the neighborhood farm.
For more ideas on seasonal produce, please contact the Front Desk to meet with one of the Center’s nutritionists.
Get It in Writing
How often do we take time to reflect? The segue into fall is an ideal time to journal summer’s highlights. You don’t need to be a word wiz. Create a list of your best summer moments. Ask family and friends for their input. It’s a great excuse for another gathering around the fire pit. Make a picture journal or scrapbook. Now is the time to upload and print all those photos. Document the happy times.
With the extreme weather we’ve been enduring, a beautiful collage of your favorite summer days will be a welcome way to pass a snowed-in day. You know the one– when clear sidewalks and warm sun evade us. These memories carry us through those days, with the promise of more fun to come. Don’t forget to include final summer days in your recordings. Vacations might be behind us. Yet, you never know when you’re making one of life’s simple, possibly sweetest, memories. Live on …
“Best Produce in August and September,” by Christi Bowers at www.associatedcontent.com.
Sunset (introductory photo): www.flickr.com/photos/12844498@N06/5846303005/
Cycling smoothies: www.flickr.com/photos/freewheelinbiker/2825658237/
Summer journal: www.flickr.com/photos/libookperson/5955934329/