Summer is a time for fun and sun… for vacations, barbecues, parties, and drinking. While you should relish these activities during this time of the year, it is often difficult to maintain a fit body during these months and it is important to make sure that your health doesn’t suffer along the way.
You can have fun as well as take care of yourself this summer. If you are able to keep your body fit, healthy, and happy throughout the summer months, you will build the habits to keep it going onto the next summer as well. Here are seven tips for building and maintaining a fit summer body.
1. Eat right
Your diet should consist of lots of fruits and vegetables. According to The Harvard School of Public Health you should be eating nine servings of fruits and vegetables per day, equivalent to two cups of fruit and 2.5 cups of vegetables per day. That is a minimum estimation so you should be able to eat as many fruits and vegetables as you want.
You also need to focus on eating the right amount of protein, fats, and good carbohydrates. Good carbohydrates include quinoa, brown rice, whole wheat, rye, and barley. Bad carbohydrates are found in refined white bread and processed foods like French fries. The amount you need to consume depends on how active you are, your height and weight, your age, your gender, etc.
A general guideline is to stay away from fast foods which are loaded with Trans fats and added sugars. Substitute hamburgers and hotdogs with turkey burgers and turkey dogs. Try grilling salmon and shrimp instead of bratwursts. Eat grilled vegetables such as zucchini, peppers, and onions or salad on the side as opposed to French fries or potato chips. (French fries do not count as a vegetable contrary to popular belief). Fruit salads make great summer desserts as a substitute for ice cream and cake.
Eating right takes discipline and awareness. It doesn’t mean you can’t ever eat a hamburger, cookie, or potato chip. It means you are consistently putting healthy foods in your body. You will notice how much better you feel because you are eating healthy and clean. After a while you might not crave the hot dog like you did before.
2. Eat light
Don’t starve yourself: if you are hungry you need to eat, but try to concentrate on how much you eat. Make an effort to not overeat. When eating there is a point when you have eaten enough and are satisfied, and then there is that point that many of us go past. This is the point you should try to avoid.
Try eating smaller meals throughout the day. Eat a large breakfast and smaller portions throughout the day. Eating this way can be beneficial especially if you are looking to shed a few pounds or get more toned. But remember just because you are eating smaller meals doesn’t mean you shouldn’t care about what you are eating. Eating right and eating light go hand in hand.
It is always important to drink enough water. This is especially necessary during the summer months. According to the American Heart Association, staying hydrated is critical for your heart health. “Keeping the body hydrated helps the heart more easily pump blood through the blood vessels to the muscles. And, it helps the muscles work efficiently.” This is not anything to take for granted. Without enough water your heart is going to suffer. If your heart suffers your body will as well.
The amount of water you should drink depends on many different variables. A useful way to test if you are drinking enough water is to pay attention to your urine. If it is light in color than you are drinking enough. If it is darker than you aren’t drinking enough. Also pay attention to how often you go to the bathroom. You don’t want to drown yourself because that can have negative consequences as well, but you want to ensure your body is properly hydrated.
If you are planning on spending a lot of time outside in the sun counteract dehydration symptoms with lots of H2O. This is really important when you plan on drinking alcohol or any other liquids that can lead to dehydration. Always have enough water available during the summer months no matter what you are doing.
Humans aren’t meant to be a sedentary, so try to get as much exercise as you can. There are so many ways you can exercise effectively especially during the summer months. Running, walking, swimming, hiking are all simple forms of exercise you can do outside in the sunny weather. Unless you have severe health restrictions, there is a form of exercise out there waiting for you.
The summer months are the perfect time to start taking exercise seriously. It can often be difficult to undertake an exercise regimen during the fall and winter months because of the cold and unfavorable weather. Play beach volleyball, go for long walks on the beach, or swim in the lake or the ocean. Exercise doesn’t have to be intense cardio or strength training. Take advantage of the warm weather and treat your body well.
It is important to determine what kind of body you want. Are you trying to lose body fat or do you desire to be more fit and active? Cater your exercise to fit your individual needs.
5. Focus on the core
Just as the foundation keeps a house strong and solid, the core keeps your body strong and solid. Even though core training is a form of exercise in itself I thought it deserved its own point of emphasis. Whether you are trying to form a six pack in your stomach or merely wanting to be stronger, focus on your core when you build your body for the summer. The core keeps your entire body together. If your core is weak than your whole body is going to suffer. Along with the normal exercise you do throughout the week add in some extra core work 3-4 times per week. This routine doesn’t need to be extreme. It is important to give your core the extra attention it deserves.
Having a strong core is more than just constructing sexy-looking abs. According to the Mayo Clinic, having strong core muscles is important for performing any physical activity. “Weak core muscles leave you susceptible to poor posture, lower back pain and muscle injuries.” Building a strong core is essential to a healthy body and beneficial for those of all ages.
6. Limit alcohol
This one can be tough especially during the summer months. I know how nice it can be to sit around outside during the summer months enjoying some adult beverages. As I said previously this is an enjoyable part of summer that you should take advantage of. But try to limit how much you drink and pay attention to what you drink.
If you are concerned with your body than you will limit how much beer you drink. Beer is refreshing in the summer but it is filled with empty calories, which can be detrimental to your body. Also watch out for liquors like whiskey and rum because they tend to have a lot of added sugars. Light liquors such as gin and vodka are probably your safest bet if you plan on drinking often throughout the summer.
7. Get rest
Your body needs rest. Make sure you provide it with plenty of rest. Don’t stay up late all the time partying. Get enough sleep. At the same time don’t workout incessantly. Your body needs time to recuperate and strengthen. Take rest as needed. Find a balance between having a good time, exercising, and resting. Your body will thank you.