Three Habits That Will Make You Healthier This Summer
Summer is here, but it is not over yet. You may still be stuck at work for the moment counting down the days until you can go away on a vacation, but at least the evenings are long and warm and the weekends are great too. Summer is an interesting time of year because it has such a massive effect on our behavior.
Things that seem completely normal, predictable in fact, in summer seem ludicrous in winter. Going to the beach is one example, or wearing a bikini or swimming trunks in public. It is also a time when a lot of people set goals for themselves. The idea of a so-called ‘beach body’ has been gaining cultural capital lately. Magazines like Vogue and Cosmopolitan gleefully tell their readers that they can get the perfect beach body in two weeks, or three days. The tacit assumptions in these sorts of articles are actually quite insidious. It presupposes, first of all, that the reader does not already have a beach body.
They may be ready to go out right now and feel and look good in whatever they wear. Secondly, and this point is rather more sinister, they propagate a certain body type as being suitable for the beach. They do this because going to the beach is a sociologically interesting thing to do. There is an unspoken acknowledgement that certain styles and physiques are suitable, while others are not. Once the criteria have been established, the judging can start. No one is exempt, and yet no one actually wins. To diminish the confidence of people who do not fit the conventional narrative of beauty is rather silly and pointless. Being healthy is one thing, but losing weight for the purpose of appearing at the beach makes it seem as if a lot of people have rather warped perspectives.
In any case, with lots of people making resolutions to themselves as a result of lots of different, and often personal, motives, it is a great time to make meaningful and positive change in your life. It may be that you want to look good because you are going to a destination wedding this summer, or that you are looking ahead to the end of the year and you want to be your best self for when you see all of your family again. Whatever your reasons, here are three great habits to make you healthier this summer:
1. Exercise is good for everyone. Whether you hit the gym and workout with weights and on treadmills, or you prefer long walks and exercises at home, it will all be contributing to your good health. The chances are, however, that you have not done enough exercise this week. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) conducted a study in 2013 which found that about 80% of the 450,000 adults asked did not get at least two and a half hours of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise each week or one hour and 15 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity. The reasons for this are varied and complex, but the solutions are simpler. First, you need to make sure you have all the right equipment. It is not hard to find sports gear from sites like SportzBits. The only thing you need then is something that you enjoy doing. It may be that you are a social person. A jogging group, or a yoga class may be for you. You could also take up a sport. The team spirit and camaraderie of lots of sports keep people going back. Before long, you will just go because you enjoy it. However, if you are more solitary and like the intense focus and determination of working out, why not train for a marathon? If you agree to receive sponsorship on behalf of a charity, it can be a good thing to help you stay motivated.
2. If you do not regularly apply suntan lotion when you go out during the summer, you are making a big mistake. The benefits of using it are pretty convincing. First, it helps reduce the risk of skin cancer. The frightening reality is that if you have had at least five sun burns in your life, your risk of developing melanoma doubles. However, knowing when you need to find some shade became easier last year when beauty company L’Oreal released the first stretchable UV monitor. You wear on it on your skin, and it will detect UV light. When it calculates that you have had enough and that any more would be dangerous, it sends a notification to your phone to inform you. Some watches will also detect UV light and inform you when there has been too much. It is so important because not only can you increase the likelihood of developing cancer, spending too much time in the sun also speeds up the process that creates wrinkles. Applying sunscreen slows this potential speeding up. It also prevents the sun from discoloring your skin and helps to reduce the possibility of facial red veins and blotchiness. Besides, it is cheap and easy to apply. There really is no excuse for not doing it.
3. Eating well is important all year round. However, it is only at times like Christmas that people tend to consciously notice that they may have eaten too much. A study shows that people all over the world gain weight around December. Americans, it found, gain about 0.4% of their total weight, while Germans put on 0.6% and the Japanese can boast 0.5%. However, there are lots of opportunities to eat a lot over summer too. If you are going to a barbecue this summer, you will most likely find quite unhealthy (although tasty) food. The problem is trying to maintain a balanced diet. One of the great things about summer is that so much wonderful fresh food is in season at that time, including lemons and limes, strawberries, peaches, cherries, plums and apricots. And that is only the fruit. You can also enjoy fresh peppers, beets, zucchini and corn. It is a veritable feast.
Image Credit: Oranges