The summer season is upon us, but many of us are still working on our summer health goals. You’re probably excited to swim, have loads of fun in the sun, relax, go on vacation, hike, kayak, or engage in other summer weather activities.
Summer is one of the best times to work on yourself, because the longer days inspire you to do more, move more, be outdoors more, and connect with more people. Summer also happens to be a great time of year to bond with your family, because kids are out of school, and everyone’s in better spirits due to the nice weather. Utilize these lively, warm months to create new experiences and try summer activities that challenge your mind and body – and even heal your soul.
People tend to associate summer with better health. This is both because summer is associated with happier moods and better mental health, but also because summer weather encourages people to be more physically active. Winter often gets blamed for hibernating and weight gain. Many people don’t feel like going out and tend to stay indoors, reducing their Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE) and causing weight gain. The winter months are also packed with feast and food-related holidays such as Thanksgiving and Christmas, so we indulge in delicious food and high-calorie beverages. For some people, the dreary weather precipitates the onset of SAD or Seasonal Affective Disorder. This is a seasonal depression that happens to some people in winter months.
Those are just some of the reasons why summer health tends to be our best health, and why the best versions of ourselves often come out in the summertime.
Summer Health Goals
Now that summer has officially arrived, it’s time to recalibrate your life, and let the warm summer sun energize you and invite you to be more active and happier. Part of moving towards a better, improved, and healthier you is establishing clear goals and figuring out pathways to achieve those goals.
If you suddenly have a newfound source of energy in the summertime, use it to your advantage. Below are some common examples of summer health goals:
- Being more physically active (such as hiking, cycling, kayaking and swimming)
- Spending more time outdoors and among nature (such as beach walks or connecting with nature in a national park)
- Losing weight in time for swimsuit season (summer body goals)
- Feeling happier and more motivated (mental health goals)
- Catching up with friends (social and emotional health)
- Trying new outdoor hobbies (such as gardening or mountain biking)
- Travel and adventure (for mental health and reenergizing yourself)
Whether you are looking to improve your physique, boost your mental well-being, lose weight, or discover new hobbies, here’s how you can crush your summer health goals:
Create a Plan of Action
If you want to crush your summer health goals, identify exactly what they are, write them down, and state how you plan to achieve them. As the popular saying goes, A goal without a plan is but a wish.
It’s important to have sub-goals for every large goal. These act as actual action steps you’ll be taking to reach your major goal.
You can make a vision board, write down your plan, add images that reflect your summer health goals, and put the vision board somewhere you’ll see it every day. The idea is to be clear about your summer objectives, whether it’s about traveling, losing weight, clearing up your skin, spending more time with the kids, or boosting your financial health. Write down how you intend to achieve each goal, whether it’s to start hiking with your sister every sunday, making an appointment with a nutritionist, or joining a runner’s group.
Furthermore, it would help to create a routine with baby steps that ultimately help you work towards your goals, since most goals cannot be achieved instantaneously. You need commitment and you must stay consistent to see results. But, of course, since life can throw curve balls, your plans must be flexible. It’s always good to have a plan B in case you suddenly decide to take your kids to the beach or make a last-minute trip to Disney. Having a backup plan can help you stick to a diet or exercise regimen even if you’re not home.
Anyone with summer health goals should keep the following general wellness tips in mind, as these habits can help you achieve holistic wellness that aligns your mind, body, and soul:
- Establish a proper bedtime routine and regular sleep schedule
- Keep healthy foods in your home, or meal prep for the week
- Throw out your junk food or donate it to the homeless
- Aim for at least 5,000 – 10,000 steps per day
- Discover an outdoor activity you love, that gets your body moving
- Set aside time for meditation
Summer can be very busy and chaotic, especially with all the extra social events, so having a plan ensures you don’t put a damper on achieving your summer health goals. Building familiar routines could help propel you forward, while falling into summer without a plan reduces your odds of achieving those goals.
Surround Yourself with Like-Minded People
Spending time with people who live a healthy lifestyle could make all the difference this summer. The process toward reaching your summer health goals is a journey. Like any journey, it can feel lonely and painful when you do it all alone or with the wrong people, who don’t share similar goals. That’s why it is important to find individuals who support you, or like-minded friends who also care greatly about their health, and could help keep you on track. Summer is a great time to expand your horizons by trying new things such as:
- Playing basketball
- Participating in outdoor tennis matches
- Joining golf clubs
- Fishing with friends
- Stand-up paddle boarding
Make it a point to be around people who respect you enough to not sway you to eat unhealthy foods, drink excess alcohol, or do anything that could derail you from the path you have charted for yourself. Notably, if you need more support than you get from home, reach out to friends or even online health communities, where there already exists a camaraderie built on the same goals and the struggles that go into achieving them.
During the colder winter months, most people tend to stay indoors. For some, this can be a cozy experience, but for others, the lack of fresh air and isolation in a single space can wreak havoc on mental and physical health, resulting in depression and anxiety. There’s also the tendency to stagnate during colder months and not engage in as much physical activity, especially those outdoors, due to how harsh the weather could be.
That said, one way to improve your overall health after seasons of no exercise, uncomfortable temperatures, and being locked indoors, is to practice earthing. Earthing, alternatively known as grounding, is the practice of walking barefoot on the earth to allow the earth’s electrons to transfer to the human body. Studies indicate that earthing has many benefits which could impact your overall health because it puts you in a better frame of mind. With a healthier disposition, you could achieve your summer health goals a lot faster.
For example, walking is already a great exercise on its own, but walking barefoot outside gives you the added benefit of better sleep and reduced pain. Better sleep results in fewer stress levels, which lowers one’s risks of developing cardiovascular diseases and mental health disorders. Additionally, being in nature is a form of ecotherapy, which lessens stress and helps with anxiety and depression.
Stay Hydrated and be Cognizant of Liquid Calories
People tend to stay out more on warm summer days, and it’s important to drink more than the recommended 8 cups per day of water in summer, because you sweat more and move more.
It helps to carry a water bottle wherever you go to prevent dehydration. This will help regulate your temperature so you can prevent the onset of heat exhaustion or heatstroke. Water will also allow nutrients to continue to circulate throughout your body, helping you maintain a healthy metabolism to burn the energy needed in your summer activities. And if you intend to get glowing summer skin, drinking water helps keep your skin healthy.
We’re all much thirstier in the summer, but any of us with summer health goals need to be cognizant of what types of beverages we reach for in the summer. Be mindful of the sugar and calories in fruit juices, alcohol, and sodas. Aim to drink water instead, and if you want to make water more fun to drink this summer, try one of these natural and healthy ways to flavor your water.
Get in the Habit of Swimming
Summer isn’t complete without a swim! Temperatures spike in summer, so swimming is one of the best things for cooling off. Best of all, this fun activity gives you that welcome side effect of improving your health. If you live near a lake or a beach, take advantage of the great outdoors. If not, you can always swim at the nearest community pool or country club. Swimming is a wonderful workout that increases your heart rate without impact on the body, like running has on the knees. It also allows you to build endurance and muscle mass and is an overall body workout that works almost everything from the neck muscles down to the feet.
Moreover, swimming is simply relaxing and can do wonders to lessen your stress levels. If you choose to swim on the beach, ocean water nourishes the skin with minerals like magnesium and sodium. Magnesium helps you retain moisture in your skin while absorbing toxins and reducing inflammation often seen in acne, leaving the fresh more vibrant. This is a big win if you are looking to glow up your skin this summer. It also helps to swim in the morning sun for vitamin D absorption.
Try Hiking or Trekking to Make Outdoor Cardio Fun
Hiking or trekking are great ways to crush your summer health goals while enjoying nature. Hiking is an especially great summer workout when done on challenging or steep terrain. Even beginner treks or hikes are just as great at building up your stamina, improving your blood circulation, helping you lose body fat, and strengthening your muscles. These activities also help build bone density, as they are weight-bearing exercises, which means your muscles and bones have to work much harder against the force of gravity.
Physical activity releases endorphins, the happy hormones, and being in nature is great for your mental health as it eases your anxiety and stress. Research shows that hiking or trekking is fantastic for mental wellness. These activities could improve your sleep quality, which results in numerous health benefits such as a lesser likelihood of developing heart disease, hormonal imbalances, and even strokes and aneurysms. Best of all, this is an outdoor activity you can easily do with family or friends. Hike in nature together, take plenty of photos at the top, and create lasting memories.
Book Hotel Accommodations with Gyms or Close to Parks
Summer is a time for rest and vacations. However, for the lot, being in another city, state, or country, does not mean the end of their summer health goals. That said, one thing you could do to crush your summer health goals despite your travels would be to book hotel accommodations with a gym.
Alternatively, if you go with an AirBNB, you could also stay near a park. Many city parks have a track for running, or some outdoor equipment stations for exercises. This will allow you to keep your momentum up whilst you’re on vacation. It also helps to pack a few of your favorite healthy snacks and supplements when you travel this summer, along with your workout gear, so your ability to stay fit while you travel is facilitated.
Take Preventative Health Measures This Summer
You can prevent sun damage, heatstroke, and other heat-related illnesses with preventative measures. Wear your sunblock every day, reapply it when necessary, and wear moisture-wicking materials and a hat if you’re out in the heat. If you’re serious about achieving all your summer health goals, these preventative measures are key.
Sunblock is crucial even if it’s a cloudy day, because harsh UV rays could penetrate the cloud barrier and cause damage such as:
- Premature lines and wrinkles
- Increased risk of skin cancer
- Prickly heat rash
- Sunburn and sun damage
In the summer months, you have to be more vigilant about wearing sunblock to prevent skin damage. After all, it would be hard to move around when you’re in pain. It’s not enough to apply sunblock in the morning before you leave the house. You have to constantly reapply throughout the day, especially if you’re out in the sun and sweating.
It is also vital to wear moisture-wicking clothing when working out or engaging in outdoor activities. These materials promote airflow and prevent the formation of fungal infections in the skin, which occur in humid and damp environments. And if you’re engaged in summer activities like biking, rollerblading, or skateboarding, wear appropriate gear like helmet, elbow/knee pads, and wristguards to avoid joint injuries or fractures. If you want to achieve your health goals, paying attention to these details can make a world of difference in your progress.
Understand Your Body to Crush Summer Health Goals
There are plenty of ways that you can achieve your physical, mental, and overall health goals this summer.
It is important to consult a medical health expert before embarking on any major type of new fitness journey, to assess your current condition and specific needs. You can also take a CircleDNA test as this at-home DNA test provides you with over 500 reports and DNA insights about yourself, to help you outline your goals.
For instance, certain diets and exercises will work best for your specific genetic makeup, and CircleDNA tells you all about this. Understanding how your DNA impacts your ability to lose weight, get fit, or be healthier may help you understand why some of your habits are not working for you. When you have the right information at your fingertips to understand your body, you can begin crafting the right plans that are geared and well-suited towards achieving your goals.
Understanding what’s in your unique DNA will certainly help you crush your summer health goals, because knowledge is power.