Some things never change and, despite COVID, the classic summer health tips still stand—with a slight twist. With many gyms yet to reopen, and a global pandemic keeping you from your usual routine, it’s up to you to keep your body active and find healthy, nutritional food to support your body’s needs. Not to mention, 27 percent of people admit to working out less than before the pandemic.
If you’re working out less, eating more and aren’t sure how to maintain a fitness routine without a gym, don’t let your health slide. Integrate these five summer health tips at home so you can keep your mind and body in great shape, despite a global pandemic.
Resist the Temptation to Embrace Herd Mentality
Covid-19 has exposed the world to the importance of healthy living and we would be wise to heed the warning. For example, research indicates that putting on additional body fat makes burning future body fat harder (5).
Although drinking your favorite cocktail earlier each day is fun for the moment, these types of actions can lead to bad habits with both physical and relational consequences. Even the lightest adult beverages contain at least 100 calories. It is also well known that alcohol consumption can lead to overeating, causing excess caloric intake for those who chose to begin their day with a drink.
Summer health tip: Liquid calories can increase hunger and cause weight gain. On days when you plan to enjoy a drink, reduce your total caloric intake to counterbalance the extra calories being consumed.
Make Walks Part of Your Routine
Did you know that going for a walk after a meal improves glucose uptake and clearance by as much as 18 to 20 percent (2,3), while also reducing the amount of fat in circulation after meals(1). This information is particularly important to be aware of as both triacylglycerol and excess glucose (de novo lipogenesis) lead to increases in adipose tissue, which is a technical term for fat.
Summer walks, in particular, are especially beneficial for increasing vitamin D intake, which may also raise testosterone (6), which can lead to better muscle quality, improved mood, stronger libido, and better body composition (4). Moreover, vitamin D levels are strongly correlated with emotional health, namely reducing symptoms of depression (3).
Regular walking can also bring the heart under greater influence of the vagus nerve, a nerve that sends inhibitory signals to the heart—when this happens, you may feel less anxious and more relaxed (4).
Some of the many other benefits of aerobic exercise include (4):
- Decrease blood pressure
- Improve blood flow
- Lower resting heart rate
- Lower submaximal heart rate
- Relieve stress
- Reduce triacylglycerol levels
- Reduce cholesterol
Summer health tip: Build walks into your daily routine so it’s easy to make time every single day. Walk with your morning coffee, after lunch, or during sunset.
Put the Right Food in Your Body
The path to feeling good in your body has more to do with the fork than with the gym. You may have heard the expression, “You can’t outwork a bad diet” and it’s true. With Americans spending more time indoors, energy balance is a concern—spending less time being active means you’re likely taking in more calories than you’re expending out, or burning off. If you want to lose or maintain your weight this summer, this one of the most important summer health tips for you.
Combat this challenge by eliminating processed foods from your diet and opt for whole foods. Summer offers the opportunity to eat a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, so enjoy all that this season has to offer. Melons, berries, corn, and greens are delicious, healthy, and fresh options.
Summer health tip: Don’t overdo fruit consumption. Some fruits contain substantial amounts of sugar. Choose fruits high in fiber such as strawberries, guava, apples, and oranges. Fiber slows digestion, therefore reducing the insulinogenic effect of high sugar.
Take Time to Learn
Rather than buying the next fad diet idea consider consulting with Google Scholar. Education boils down to reading, understanding, and applying the information you learn, which is easy and free to do at home. Google Scholar, a free resource, allows you to learn about a variety of health topics that have been studied in controlled settings so you can get trustworthy data.
When researching, look for peer-reviewed journals, and if you don’t have the time to research what constitutes a peer-reviewed journal, take notice of the number of citations a scholarly article has attributed. An article with many citations offers a clear indication that an author’s work is recognized as read-worthy material.
Summer health tip: Consider research and learning as part of your healthy living routine. Make time once each week to dig into topics that interest you.
This is one of the classic summer health tips you see every year because it’s one of the most important ones. It’s easy to get caught up in enjoying summer and forget to hydrate. However, it’s critical that you drink water to avoid dehydration in the summer sun while also maintaining a healthy body and mind. Proper hydration does many important things for your body, including:
- Regulating body temperature
- Keeping joints lubricated
- Preventing infections
- Delivering nutrients to cells
- Keeping organs functioning properly
- Improving sleep quality, cognition, and mood
Summer health tip: Drink two glasses of water before each meal. This will create a satiating effect that may prevent overeating and safeguard against dehydration during the hot and humid summer months.
Summer Health Tips for Unprecedented Times
These summer health tips are more important now than ever before. Movement is a valuable tool for coping with the emotions and stress of COVID because it increases your mental resistance, so don’t let your health slide this season. Use these simple tips to stay active, eat well, and create healthier routines.
- Burns, S., Hardman, A., and Stensel, D. (2009). Brisk walking offsets the increase in postprandial TAG concentrations found when changing to a diet with increased carbohydrate. Brit J of Nutrition, 101, 1787 – 1796.
- Coe, D., Conger, S., Kendrick, J., Howard, B., Thompson, D., Bassett, D. (2018). Postprandial walking reduces glucose levels in women with gestational diabetes. Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism.
- Eskandari, F., Martinez, P.,, Torvik, S., Phillips, T., Sternberg, E., Mistry, S., Ronsaville, et al. (2007). Low bone mass in premenopausal women with depression. Arch Intern Med. 2007, 167, 2329-2336.
- McArdle, W., Katch, F., & Katch, V. (2015). Exercise physiology: Eight Edition. Wolters Kluwer: Baltimore, MD.
- Mittendorfer, B., Fields, D., & Klein, S. (2003). Excess body-fat in men decreases plasma fatty acid availability and oxidation. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab
- Nimptsch, K., Platz, E., Willett, W., & Giovannucci, E. (2012). Association between plasma 25-OH vitamin D and testosterone levels in men. Clinical Endocrinology, 77(1), 106 – 112.