Now that we are midway through 2009, it is time to check in on how the year is going. Where are your healthy habits right now? Often, people start a new year strong and with the best of intentions. They get enthusiastic about developing new, healthy habits, then slowly get off track. Many people keep it up for a few months, then get distracted and let good habits lapse.
January is not the only time of year to set goals. Use the summer months to revisit goals you may have previously made or revise what it is you are working toward. Defining your reasons for being healthy is always helpful to get you on your way.
There are as many reasons to exercise and eat right as there are people. Take some time to think about yours. Do you want to be able keep up with your kids? Do you like the idea of jogging with your dog? Do you want to have more energy and feel better overall? Would you like to sleep better? Find your reasons and set some short-term summer goals to help get you to where you want to be.
Summer is a great time to keep up or adopt healthy habits. Because it is warmer and we have more hours of daylight, we have a broader range of healthy options. Summer can provide us with all sorts of new outlets and ideas.
- Summer is prime time for produce. There is nothing better than fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetables. Explore your grocery store’s produce aisle and see what looks good. It’s a great time to be adventurous and try new things. If it looks tasty and interesting, buy it!
- Visit a local farmers’ market. Farmers’ markets are even better than the grocery storenot only are you getting super-fresh produce, you are supporting your local farmers. You can’t always do that in a grocery store, where produce is flown in from all over the world.
There are more than 4,600 farmers’ markets in the United States. There is a good chance one takes place near where you live.
- Get out the grill! Grilling is a fantastic way to prepare food without using any added butter or oils. Grilling also makes the simplest of food taste ridiculously delicious. Would you rather have grilled barbecue chicken or barbecue chicken from the oven? The grilled chicken will almost always be tastier.
- Try out new recipes using fresh produce and your grill. You can have company over to enjoy a healthy meal and play some whiffleball or badminton.
- In the summer, it’s easier to be social and active at the same time. You can catch up with friends while on a long walk, or plan a family hike. Instead of meeting your friends for dinner and drinks, why not meet for a bike ride? You can always go out afterward.
- Summer is a great time to try a new form of exercise. Have you always wanted to be a better swimmer? Are you curious about rollerblading? Is it time to learn how to pedal a bike while standing up? Have you dreamed of running a 5K? This is a great time to explore new, outdoor fitness options.
- Join a swim team! If you were on a team as a kid, think about joining an adult league. Swimming is great exercise for people who are unable to engage in high-impact exercises such as running, because it is easier on your joints.
- More hours of sunlight can provide new times for some physical activity. If you usually exercise at night, why not get up early and go for a bike ride or jog before work? You’ll start your day on a positive note and have more energy for the rest of the day. This will also leave you with more free time during the after-work hours.
- Gym traffic tends to slow down during the summer months. This means that if you prefer an indoor workout, there are fewer people to fight for the equipment you want to use. Go hog the treadmill or elliptical machine for an hour without any guilt.
- Because gym business is slower during the summer, gyms may be willing to offer reduced-rate memberships. Stop by a gym you’ve been thinking of joining and find out what they have to offer in the way of summer deals.
- Personal trainers generally see business fall off during this time of year. This means that the trainers at your gym may have less to do when they are at work. If you see a trainer who does not appear busy, ask them if they will spend some time showing you new exercises and giving you fitness advice. Most trainers will be glad to help and new ideas will help keep your workouts fresh.
- Revisit your high school days by playing a team sport. Athletic leagues across the country sponsor adult softball, soccer, and football teams. This is a great way to go if you prefer some structure, competition, and social interaction with your exercise.
- Revisit middle school gym class through the World Adult Kickball League. They have a mission “to provide a unique club with an inclusive co-ed social culture and establish the WAKA Kickball experience as the New American Pastime.” If this sounds appealing, go for it. It is supposed to be a great way to meet new people, have fun, and get some exercise.
- Organize a “field day” for your family and friends. Do you remember how much fun Field Day was when you were in elementary school? Everyone would head outside together for relays, sack races, wheelbarrow races, and tug of war. All the kids would have a great time while they vied for first, second, and third place ribbons. You can make up whatever games you would like and award crazy prizes.
Hopefully some of these ideas strike a chord with you. Try some, or come up with healthy ideas of your own.
Enjoy the summer months!