Do you tend to keep indoors during the sizzling summer months? Does that iced coffee with its crown of whipped cream tempt you every day? Does the television, sitting in that cool air-conditioned living room lure you into watching every episode of your favorite show?
While these may seem like an excellent way to enjoy the summer (holidays), soon the lack of exercise and poor diet will show up in our health. Here are some cool fixes to overcome the summer inertia.
Everyone knows exercise is the best way to lose or maintain weight, but as the temperature rises to sweltering heights, it is easy to let go of its benefits. However, movement is the most natural thing for our bodies, irrespective of weather. It increases metabolism, helps in the production of serotonin, which regulates mood, gives us more energy for the longer days and regulates sleep. If you can, try to run or walk or do your weights training early in the day before it gets too hot. Or alternatively, join an indoor gym class which means you are working out in a temperature-controlled environment and with other people, providing motivation and a mood boost. Gym classes also vary their routines and music every few weeks so the program doesn’t get monotonous.
Eating right does not mean eating less or more. You will still need adequate nutrition. Whole foods rather than processed foods are the right choice any time of the year, but pay special attention to what you are eating or drinking to cool yourself down, such as frozen yogurt, ice-cream, smoothies, slushies, etc. These are usually packed with sugar providing empty calories and very little nutrition. However, you can freeze your own favorite fruits and vegetables and blend them with ice and a dash of honey for a refreshing frozen treat.
Try to get a range of brightly colored fruits and vegetables in your diet every day. These are abundant during summer and build up your immunity brilliantly.
Mind your sleep
Aim to sleep between 7 and 9 hours a night and do not vary sleeping and waking times by more than an hour, even if you are in holiday mode. Sleeping less, or more, than the amount you need changes the level of melatonin in the body, which can leave you feeling sluggish and de-energized for the day. Weight gain may take place if you oversleep missing out of valuable exercise time. If you sleep in, you may also miss the opportunity to get some sunlight before it gets too hit. Sunlight on exposed skin increases the production of vitamin D in the body, which in turn affects the production of leptin, a hormone that tells us we are full keeping us satiated and our appetites at an optimal level. Vitamin D can also be gained through foods such as tofu, eggs and dairy products.
When the temperatures get high, we may start to dehydrate because of the loss of fluid through perspiration. We may not always feel thirsty, and by the time we feel thirsty we may already be dehydrated. Remember to drink at regular intervals and steer clear of too much caffeine, carbonated drinks and alcohol. For every cup of coffee or tea (excluding green tea) you drink, aim to compensate by drinking twice the amount of water. Herbal teas, like green tea, ginger or lemon tea do not dehydrate but in fact can be refreshing both hot or cold.