Better Off Well
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INSIGHTS

5 Things To Remember This Summer

kayak max

Upon leaving the gym this morning and back into the thick blanket of air, a man said to me... "This is the stuff we complain about, right?"

I smiled at him. "Not me! Not after this past winter!"

And that is surely the truth. I was cold for too many days this year and I hope never to see a bulky sweater again. At least till December. Of next year.

In case you've forgotten what this past winter looked like...

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School days were cancelled again. And again. And again.

Heating bills... stuck indoors...shoveling...long underwear...all coming back?

So when the sweat hits the fan, I make sure to relish in the heat and sunshine of these dog days, make lots of memories, and make these summer habits...habits!

1) Stay hydrated. May sound like old news but I see too many people trying to do this with sports drinks. BAD NEWS. Sports drinks are loaded with sugar- in the form of high-fructose corn syrup- and chemical preservatives, and colors. While one study showed that high-intensity athletes could actually process the hfcs during a workout, most of us cannot. And most of the ones drinking these are kiddos. For every molecule of sugar we take in, our bodies require lots more molecules of magnesium to process. High sugar consumption also leads to depletion of chromium through the urine.

SO WHAT TO DO?

Drink water.Not soda or bottled juice or packaged iced tea. Water. Coconut water is a great substitute for active bodies because it contains a number of minerals our bodies need and that we tend to lose when we sweat. Add a squirt of lemon or orange for natural flavor. Or flavor a pitcher of water with cucumbers, berries, mint, lemon, or lime. When I am planning a run or a cycle, I sometimes drink a glass of water with a 1/4 tsp of Himalayan sea salt. Kind of like swallowing ocean water but it helps to prevent dehydration.

Another way to stay hydrated is to eat fruits and veggies high in water content. Not just watermelon, but peaches, berries, apples, tomatoes, cucumbers, celery, and carrots. Our bodies tend to hold onto the water in food better than straight up.

2) Eat your sunscreen.While it's important to don the topical sunscreen in direct sun (read my post about sunscreens here), it's equally important to eat foods that help to protect our skin. Foods high in antioxidants like pomegranates, oranges, blueberries, guavas, tomato paste or cooked tomatoes, green tea, and dark chocolate help to reduce the effects of sun radiation.

4) Be ready for the burn. Ideally we don't get to the point of sunburn but it's inevitable at some point for every outdoor lover. The key is to treat the damage as quickly as possible. I do that with a mix of aloe vera and coconut oil. Shea butter is also a skin saver. Cold cucumbers and lettuce "tea" help to heal the pain.

5) Detox weekly. A summer full of barbecues, sangria, sun, strawberry shortcake, and hopefully lots of laughter are great for the soul, but not so great for a body. I make sure to help my body dump the toxins with green smoothies or juices, green and herbal teas, and a squeeze of lemon to warm water. A sprinkle of turmeric and a grate of ginger add extra anti-inflammatory benefits, so I make sure to include those a couple times a week, too.

Most importantly, remember to LIVE in THIS MOMENT. Right now. As often as you can. Birds are singing, bees are buzzing, trees are shady, and there is not a shovel in sight.

Relish.