With Memorial Day quickly approaching, the unofficial start of summer has arrived. And while there is much to celebrate this season, it’s important to uphold our healthy habits.
With family vacations and weekend getaways on your calendar, fitness can easily be forgotten. Luckily, you don’t have to sacrifice fun in the sun to stay slim this summer.
Stay in shape with these seven simple steps:
Walk it off. Take advantage of the warmer weather by walking as much as possible. Walking crushes calories and improves heart health. This all-star aerobic activity is easy, effective, requires no equipment, and is gentle on the joints.
Get some sleep. A solid night of sleep is associated with weight loss and maintenance. When the brain is sleep-deprived it requires energy to stay awake and alert. An increase in appetite and food cravings is one way the brain tries to satiate this need.
Set your alarm each evening and morning at the same time to encourage a sound sleep schedule. Also try to avoid bright screens and cellphone use before bedtime.
Be a sport. Sports are an ideal form of fitness, as most sporting events range from 45-60 minutes in duration. Chances are, that’s a lot longer than you’d spend in a gym, where five minutes on a treadmill can feel like five hours. Grab a friend and join a league, such as volleyball, tennis or even ultimate Frisbee. Try incorporating your sport of choice into your schedule two to three times each week.
Fast fitness. Many people skip their sweat session because they don’t have time. High-intensity interval training packs a powerful calorie-burning punch without the major time commitment.
Try this 20-minute HIIT workout (repeat circuit three times):
30 jumping jacks
30 seconds of fast feet – Quickly alternate your feet against a step or wall.
10 reverse-lunge hops – Step back with the right foot, keeping your body weight in the left heel and the left knee aligned above the ankle. Hold for two counts, or until you feel stable, then explosively jump the right leg up. Repeat 10 times, then switch legs.
Plié pulse – Step your feet out wider than your hips with toes pointed out. Lower into a squat, keeping your bodyweight in your heels, and hold for two counts. Push through your heels to stand. Repeat 20 times.
Push-up heel taps – Start in a high plank position position. Lower the body for a push-up and press through the palms to return to the starting stance. Hold this position, and in a controlled motion swing the right leg up to towards the right hand, landing on the heel. Keep the left leg as straight as possible. Repeat on the opposite side. Continue this sequence for 10 repetitions.
Snack small. What do happy hours, boardwalk treats and Phillies games have in common? Fattening snacks and sips. It’s difficult to dodge these fat traps because, let’s face it, they are delicious. Rather than deprive yourself of Manco & Manco pizza at the Shore or Dollar Dog Nights at Citizens Bank Park, practice portion control. Have a slice, not an entire pie. Or one hot dog, instead of five. This tactic allows you to enjoy your indulgences without tipping the scale.
Hydration. Sweaty summer days zap your body of fluids. When the body is dehydrated, it bloats. A quick fix for staying well-hydrated is to keep a water bottle handy. Aim for eight eight-ounce glasses each day.
Another weight-loss hack is to drink a glass of water before a meal. Doing so tricks your mind into thinking your belly is full, making you less likely to binge.
Family time. Make family fitness a priority. Bonding over healthy habits sets a strong foundation for children as they grow. It also helps keep all members of the household accountable for eating well and being active. Fill your refrigerator with heart-healthy snacks and fresh foods. Try to go for a post-dinner family walk, or play a sport in the backyard together.
Ashley B. Greenblatt is a certified personal trainer and wellness coach. To learn more, visit ashleyblakefitness.com.