With summer officially in full swing, there's no better time than now to jump start your way to becoming the happiest, healthiest you! Making goals gives you something to work toward; puts you on the right path for making successful, positive changes; and rewards you with a tremendous sense of accomplishment when you look back on all that you have achieved.
With that in mind, I challenge YOU to strive for these five healthy goals to make your summer ultra-worthwhile:
1. Taste the Rainbow
One of the best things about this time of year is the abundance of delicious fruits and vegetables that are in season during the months of June, July, and August. For starters, eating more fruit and vegetable servings keeps you energized, helps you maintain a healthy weight, and strengthens your immune system.
Stop by any supermarket and you're bound to find a broad range of fresh produce in every color under the rainbow. Aim to eat one fruit or vegetable in every color to get a diversity of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients.
Also, add a visit to a local farmers market on your to-do list. Because fruits and vegetables from local growers don't have to be picked early while they are still green and shipped over long distances, they retain a higher concentration of nutrients, have the freshest taste, and benefit the environment by significantly reducing usage of fossil fuels for food processing and transportation. Visit LocalHarvest.org to find a farmers market near you!
2. Get Moving
With the cold, dreary days of winter long gone, there's no excuse not to get up, get outside, and get moving! Walking, jogging, running, hiking, and bike riding are just some of the many activities that you can do to get your heart pumping and blood flowing while soaking up the summer sunshine.
If you're going to be spending long periods of time outside, however, be sure to practice safe habits in order to protect yourself from sun damage.
3. Make a Splash
Swimming is one of the world's best exercises. Period. It is a great cardiovascular exercise that keeps you cool, burns tons of calories, and works your entire body. The extra water resistance also pushes your body to work harder, strengthening muscle tissue while simultaneously relieving pressure from joints, tendons, ligaments, and bones and significantly reducing the risk of injury. The best part? Swimming is a perfect exercise to do in the summer!
Looking for something new? Get your feet wet (literally!) and give surfing, water skiing or wakeboarding a try. Not an adrenaline junkie? Opt for a calmer alternative such as canoeing, kayaking, or paddle boarding. Whatever you do, don't hesitate to try out these activities because they, for the most part, can only be done during a quarter of the year!
4. Reconnect with Friends and Family
If you live on campus during the school year, you are well aware of how little time you actually get to spend with your family and friends from home. With several weeks of summer break ahead and a less-hectic schedule free from studying, exams, and school time activities, make it a priority to spend as much time as possible with your loved ones to reconnect and strengthen your relationships.
Your psychological well being plays a huge role in influencing your overall health and sometimes all we need is a good laugh or some support from the people who care about us to keep us happy and healthy. Stay in touch and treasure your time together with friends and family before you head back to campus for fall semester.
5. Relax and De-stress
Use the summertime to get that long-overdue R&R that you have been putting off all semester. With final exams just a thing of the past, use your time off to plan a relaxing getaway or simply sit back, relax, and cherish your time at home. Go outside, take in a breath of fresh air, and just enjoy the moment. Focus on the present, indulge in simple pleasures, and take the time to enjoy the little things in life that are often overshadowed by other responsibilities.
Embody the easy-breezy spirit of summer and free yourself from worries and troublesome thoughts, allowing yourself to feel at ease to benefit your mind, body, and soul.
What Do You Think?
How do you plan to stay healthy this summer? Have any specific goals in mind? Let me know in the comments below!