Those of us in the northern hemisphere are heading towards mid-summer, enjoying long summer days and bright sunny skies. In Europe, particularly in the north, it’s truly been a long hot summer to remember so far. Summer sunshine is special in itself, but it also really helps nudge our desire and motivation to get out, be active and eat more healthy foods. So, whilst we realise that those of you in the southern hemisphere are plunged into the depths of your winter, our message this week is that it’s always the right time to get healthy, no matter the weather.
In the UK, today is the first day that all children are now on summer holidays. It’s also a beautiful sunny day, so we thought we’d share our top 10 tips for making the most of the summer weather to supercharge your health and holidays.
#1. Keep hydrated.
Repeated so often that it gets boring, but still so many people forget to drink water! With the soaring temperatures around the world this year, 1.5 litres a day of fresh water is an absolute minimum for adults – more if you’re active and training. If you don’t drink water regularly, then you could be vulnerable to chronic dehydration, which means that your thirst mechanism may have ‘turned off’. So, don’t wait until you become thirsty, drink regularly throughout the day. And water doesn’t have to be boring – flavour it with your favourite herbs or fruit; add a squeeze of lime or some coconut water; or even some decaf iced tea or herbal tea. If you’re also drinking coffee, tea and the odd tipple, then you’ll need extra water to maintain your hydration level. You might like to read our recent article on EZ Water to remind yourself why there’s a special magic that takes place in our bodies when we’re properly hydrated and enjoying the sunshine. It’s really too good an opportunity to miss!
#2. Source local and seasonal produce
Summer is a great time to make the most of local and seasonal produce. Picked at its peak, fruit and veg is at its best and brimming with phytonutrients. It’s a perfect time to go more ‘plant based’ and up your intake and diversity of plant foods. Remember the target is to ‘eat a rainbow’ every day and indulge in all 6 colours of nature’s palette (green, yellow, orange, red, blue/black and white/tan). This is also the perfect time to buy or pick extra and freeze them for the coming months.
#3. Don’t over eat
Avoid the temptation to over eat whilst on holiday. As hard as it is, especially if you’re tempted by the all you can eat/all day buffets (particularly those lovely sweet, carby treats you may avoid normally), your body will thank you and you’ll have more energy. Choose a smaller plate at the buffet, pile up the plant food before you start adding anything else and limit dessert to one meal of the day. Remember that healthy fats and protein will make you feel fuller for longer and help you avoid the snacking trap. Make it easy by modelling your food plate on ours in our Food4Health guidelines.
#4. Make active fun
Turn friends and family activities into active fun. The more the merrier because alongside food, ‘laughter is the best medicine’. Going for a brisk walk in the park before feeding the ducks, a family/group bike ride, or a trip to the local water park will all elevate your heart rate and boost your circulation. As well as being fantastic for your physical health, moving outdoors also can boost the production of feel-good endorphins, and has been proven to reduce stress, improve your sleep, and help relieve depression.
#5. Natural movement in nature’s playground
Let Erwan Le Corre, founder of MovNat, inspire you to some natural movement in nature’s playground. It’s activity and movement that talks to our genes, that engages gravity, that reconnects us and allows us to reclaim our nature. The beauty of making the great outdoors our gym (for free!) is that we also get up close and personal with the soil again, which really helps our microbiome to flourish. It also engages us in earthing if we’re barefoot, where our bodies receive a charge of ions from the earth that makes us feel great in a really short time. It’s the way we were meant to be and it’s why you’ll only ever see Erwan outdoors with bare feet. Even a toe scrunch in the grass in your lunch hour will work!
Erwan Le Corre, founder of MovNat, demonstrates the workout the world forgot
#6. Boost your Vitamin D levels
Boost your vitamin D levels naturally. Essential for our health and wellbeing, many people, particularly in more northern climes, are woefully deficient in vitamin D. Whilst vitamin D supplements can be a saviour, nothing beats doing it naturally the way nature intended us to absorb it through our skins. Spending 15 – 20 mins in the sun without sunblock in your swimwear is all it takes when the sun is high in the sky. Time it and then, as the Aussies say, slip, slap, slop that sun cream (please choose a safe, natural one) on to make sure you don’t burn.
#7. Digital detox
Use this time for a much needed digital detox. Being out and about in nature is the perfect opportunity to cut back on the amount of time you and your kids spend using electronic devices. Talk, laugh and play without the distraction of the electronic world and give your eyes and brains a rest from the blue screens.
#8. Lifestyle changes
It’s so much easier to make those lifestyle changes you’ve been planning during the warmer, lighter summer months. What’s stopping you joining that new class or extending your social network by becoming a member of that club? Use this time to action the changes you’ve been wanting, get out of your comfort zone and reach for the life you’ve been dreaming of. Change, which can feel challenging, helps keeps our brains active and flexible as we age.
#9. Sleep well
So, after all that fresh air, activity, sunshine and life change, we hope you’re sleeping well. Resting, relaxing and sleeping the adequate amount of hours we need is essential for a healthy body and a happy brain. Changing time zones as you travel abroad to holiday can disrupt natural circadian rhythms which makes sleep more difficult. We thought the Sleep Council’s top tips to help you sleep well during the holiday season was worth sharing.
#10. Become coherent
Last but not least? Become coherent. Enjoy yourself and take time in your day to stop and appreciate the good things in your life rather than focusing on what you don’t like or what makes you unhappy. Appreciation is the emotion that brings us all into harmony with the resonance of the earth. That feeling of synchronicity when our heart waves become attuned to the earth makes us feel positive and that anything is possible. Once you’re there, bathing in positivity, why not make a few acts of kindness? Go on, let’s start a ripple effect this summer!
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