Fitness

5 secrets to your healthiest summer ever

©iStockphoto.com/Maridav Author: Canadian Living Credits: ©iStockphoto.com/Maridav

Fitness

5 secrets to your healthiest summer ever

Summer is in full swing, and there’s no doubt you’re outside enjoying what the season has to offer. The long, lazy days of summer are less chaotic and summer barbecues, fun-in-the-sun beach days, and weddings are plentiful. Like most of us, you may tend to adopt a “school’s out” attitude in the summer, but that doesn’t mean your healthy habits have to fly out the window with those tossed pencils and books.

With all the fun, it can be easy to forget to follow simple healthy habits that help you stay in tip-top shape. Take advantage of the warm, sunny days to make fitness fun and follow these five tips to keep yourself healthy this summer.

5 ways to stay healthy this summer

1. Establish a regular exercise routine
Summer retreats and a less structured schedule make it easy to find excuses for ditching your regular workout in favour of logging some quality beach time. But with the sun shining and the temperatures on the rise, it’s the perfect time for you to get off the treadmill and take to the outdoors to establish a fun workout routine you can stick to.

“Trying to fit in larger workouts is unrealistic and can be discouraging when you can’t accomplish it,” says Kathleen Trotter, nutrition and fitness expert and columnist for The Globe and Mail. “Start with smaller, more manageable goals first and work your way up from there.”

With the sun rising earlier, getting up just 30 minutes earlier means you can fit in a solid workout and still be at work on time. Get outside for a walk, run, bike or swim, suggests Pam Mazucca Prebeg, Canadian Living fitness expert. Playing a game of tennis or golf with friends, or running with your kids in the playground are both great sources of cardio and let you sneak in a little social time, too.

Page 1 of 2 -- Learn why sleep is so important and how to avoid those tempting treats on page 2

2. Sleep well

With longer days and plenty of reasons to celebrate, it’s hard to resist the urge to stay up late. but you need at least eight hours of sleep each night. Without it, your body becomes stressed and cortisol levels rise, making you hungrier, increasing cravings and encouraging weight gain. Mazzuca Prebeg suggests sneaking in a mid-day nap to catch up on lost sleep, or limiting yourself to going out one or two nights a week. 


3. Make smarter drink choices

There’s nothing wrong with a little indulgence from time to time, but all those daiquiris can seriously pack on the pounds. A single gram of alcohol will cost you seven calories, so instead of mixed drinks why not try a wine spritzer or a light beer. Aim for drinks with less than 90 calories, like Moosehead’s Cracked Canoe premium light lager or Molson Canadian’s Canadian 67 premium pale lager.

“It’s OK to indulge in a night out on occasion as long as you plan healthy eating around it, “ says Trotter. “If you know you’re going to have a few treats at a party, squeeze in an extra workout or eat healthier all week to balance it out.”

4. Brown-bag it
Ice cream stands and hot dog vendors are a temptingly easy option when you’re out for the day, but they’re sure to put a damper on a healthy diet. With a little prep work before you head out the door you can have a fun day out without all the extra calories.

“Junk makes you feel like junk,” says Dr. Joey Shulman, a registered nutritionist. “If you know you’re going out take the time to pack healthy options such as sandwiches, protein bars, nuts and fresh fruits.” If you absolutely have to eat out, opt for frozen yogurt instead of ice cream or a veggie burger that has fewer calories than the traditional burger fare from fast-food chains.

5. Protect from the sun and hydrate
The number one healthiest thing you can do for yourself this summer is keep up with proper hydration and sun safety habits. In the summer we tend to lose mindfulness when it comes to healthy patterns because of the hustle and bustle of parties and vacations, says Shulman, but making a conscious effort to hydrate and protect yourself from the sun should be top priority. She recommends drinking two litres of water a day. Added lemon or lime not only gives flavor but also boosts alkaline and will keep your energy levels up throughout the day. 


If you’re going to be out in the sun make sure you protect your peepers by wearing sunglasses that block UVA and UVB rays, and don a large hat or a cover-up to keep your skin from getting scorched. Proper sunscreen application is also key to minimize risk of sunburn and skin cancer.

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5 secrets to your healthiest summer ever

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