Tips for a Healthy Summer

Summer's finally arrived! Time to get out and have some healthy fun. For some many people, this is actually the healthiest time of year as the warmer weather encourages them to move more and give more thought to what they eat.

Here are some tips to help you make this the best summer ever!

1. Go outside. Our country's sedentary lifestyle includes spending tremendous amounts of time indoors sitting at a desk, watching TV, surfing the internet and playing video games. Summer, however, is a time to run free! Remember as a kid when we used to stay out all day until the street lights came on? Let's get back to that again. Scan your local paper for outdoor events and concerts, hike local trails and check out the parks in your area. And, remember to get out of the gym for your workouts, too.

2. Drink water! You lose about a half a gallon of body juice daily, and with the summer heat you'll loose more, increasing your risk of dehydration. You'll need to pay attention and put those fluids back. Even moderate dehydration can lead to headaches, fatigue, decreased athletic performance, joint pain, increased discomfort due to allergies and asthma, bloating and constipation. None of which, by the way, are a reasonable trade for simply drinking a few cups of water. Keep in mind that if you feel thirsty, you're probably already somewhat dehydrated so don't wait until then. While you may be tempted to fill up on sugary drinks, cool water is usually your best bet. Jazz it up with a squeeze of lemon or cucumber slices.

3. Workout in the morning. Chances are, as temperatures soar you'll be less likely to want to move around a lot, let alone get into that fat burning, HIIT workout planned for the day. You'll also burn more calories during the day as your body moves into EPOC (Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption) in the hours after the workout. Plus, exercising in the morning will let you take full advantage of those long sunny days by leaving you open for evening fun with family and friends.

4. Enter an athletic event or try a new activity. Run or walk a 5k, enter a cycling race, or try your hand at orienteering. Get some friends together for beach volleyball, kayaking or rock climbing. Some cities even have interesting activities like scavenger hunt-type races and dragon boating. This is a great time to explore something different and give new purpose to your training.

5. Eat fresh. With the bounty of summer and sheer variety of fresh options, there's not much reason to eat frozen or, I can barely say it... commercially canned, fruits and veggies. If your city has a Farmer's Market, go there. Portlanders, go here. If not, get out of the city to find a fruit and veggie stand or farm open to the public and pick your own harvest. Whenever possible, do look for organic products, especially when you'll be eating the outside of your picks (like lettuce, spinach, apples, etc). Check out the EWG's Shopper's Guide to Pesticides for more info on when to eat organic.

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