Summer is the perfect time to slow down and relax. The warm weather and longer days beckon you to linger at parks or enjoy time with friends outside.
Summer can also be a season of indulgence. A cold beer on a hot afternoon, decadent bbqs and life at a slower pace. While all of these are well deserved celebrated summer traditions, many of our clients tell us it can be a slippery slope when it comes to healthy habits. However, by maintaining a few, simple practices, you can still have fun without throwing all your hard work from the rest of the year our the window.
Here are a few simple practices that I am keeping this summer to keep me on track:
I actually find drinking water easier in the summer because I crave it more. However, in the heat our bodies need more water to replenish the water we lose to perspiration and maintain healthy body temperatures. As a rule of thumb you should be drinking about half your body weight in pounds, in ounces of water. Too complicated? Just take a peak in the toilet. Your urine should be straw coloured or clear if you are well hydrated
Pro tip: Getting muscle cramps? Add a pinch of Himalayan salt to your water to help replenish the sodium stores that allow your muscles to contract smoothly.
All of us should be getting 20-30 minutes of movement daily. No exceptions. It is critical in maintaining a healthy body weight, maintaining strong bone density, supporting digestion and a whole host of other benefits. Luckily in the summer that should be easy. Movement can be as simple as leaving the car at home and walking to work or a game of tag with your kids at the park. Whatever you choose, it should be something that fits easily into your day and that you enjoy if it is going to be a sustainable habit.
Want to know how your activity of choice stacks up? Check out our caloric expenditure guide to see how many calories you are burning with your favourite summer activities.
Pro tip: Tracking apps are a great way to stay accountable to movement. Studies have shown they improve compliance to exercise and are a great way to stay motivated. I use Fitbit to track my movement, food intake and water consumption.
I’ve always taken a probiotic. If you have ever been on a course of antibiotics, used birth control or had digestive or immune concerns, a probiotic is a smart idea. It is also as simple as taking your vitamins with your breakfast. With plenty of excellent shelf stable probiotics it is easier than ever to make sure you keep up this healthy habit even while on vacation. Taking a probiotic is a great way to boost your immunity, maintain a healthy weight and help your digestion especially if your summer diet is lacking balance.
Pro tip: Not all probiotics are created equal. Different strains are more appropriate than others for certain conditions and can target different areas of the digestive system. Talk to your healthcare provider about what might be best for you.
Need a bit of guidance? Our naturopath Dr. Johann is a wealth of knowledge when it comes to nutraceuticals (natural pharmaceuticals) and can prescribe the most effective probiotic for your goal. Click here to book an assessment today.
Get Your Greens
With more and more research to support it, eating a largely plant based diet is a must. Getting your fruits and veggies helps provide you with essential vitamins and nutrients, maintains good digestion and can be another source of hydration in the summer. Luckily the summer also means better access to local produce and foods with less preservatives at a better cost. Aim to eat veggies especially at every meal and in general, have them take up at least half of your plate.
Pro tip: Summer farmer’s market are a great place to get high quality produce. Conscious farmers often deliver organic produce using better farming practices. It is also a great way to support local business. Don’t forget that farms feed cities.
Want to know which foods you should absolutely be eating organic? Click here for our easy checklist you can use when grocery shopping.
This is a non-negotiable in my house…even on cloudy days. Your skin is your largest organ and protecting it from the sun not only prevents dehydration and controls body temperature, it also prevents against some serious damage and disease susceptibility. As if protecting your skin against the sun wasn’t enough, you also need to be conscious of the quality of ingredients you are putting on your skin.
Pro tip: Keep a broad spectrum sunscreen of at least SPF 30 or greater beside your shower and apply all over when you are getting ready in the morning. That allows for full coverage before you get outside. We like Green Beaver natural mineral sunscreen in our house and at the clinic.
Unsure how to implement these tips or are looking for more healthy tips to keep you on track? Sign up for our newsletter which is jam-packed with evidence based advice from our team of health care experts.
Happy summer everyone!
Melanie Stevens Sutherland, Clinic Director & Senior Orthopaedic and Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist
Melanie is a graduate of McMaster University and brings 17 years of experience as a senior physiotherapist to Body Co. She has enjoyed a long tenure working with active populations at prestigious sport medicine clinics. Past clients include Provincial, National and Olympic level athletes as well as members of the National Football League, the Canadian Football League, the Ontario Hockey League, the American Hockey League, the National Lacrosse League and Major League Soccer.
Following the birth of her own children, Melanie developed a strong interest in women’s health. She has taken specialized courses in pelvic floor physiotherapy and women’s nutrition. She is passionate about helping women find strength and confidence in their post-natal bodies following pregnancy and delivery.