How much do you really know about health and fitness? You might be surprised! Take our quiz now to test your knowledge!
As we approach the sun-drenched days of summer, it’s important to understand the impact warm weather has on the body. Sunny days conjure a playful, vacation state of mind, but it’s the summertime heat that can also leave you feeling drained.
There are two reasons for this lethargy. While the metabolism works harder during colder months to keep you warm, it slows down during the summer so you don’t overheat. This doesn’t mean you need to cut calories when the temperature rises – the body will automatically adjust for homeostasis. Another reason we feel our energy wane in the warmth is decreased hydration. During an average day of sweating, breathing, and eliminating, you will excrete 10 cups of water out of your body. And that’s without exercise! Once you add in your favorite gym workout and hot weather, you’re heading down the road to dehydration.
Dehydration causes low energy, decreased volume of blood and even slows the metabolism. Don’t let the heat stop you from working out or enjoying fun activities. Instead, drink more water to help your organs function and toxins flush out.
If you feel less hungry when it’s hot outside, modify your intake with smaller meals and snacks. Also, eat more cooling foods to help clear heat and refresh the system. Cooling foods include:
Berries because they alkaline and generate cold energy
Dark leafy greens are made up of 80-95 percent water
Bananas clear intestinal heat
Avocados are easily digestible and nourish the blood
Romaine lettuce is great for salads and the liver for removing toxins
Melons are water-dense, delicious and the perfect summertime treat
Also lemons apples, papaya, pineapple, summer squash, zucchini, and cucumber.
Try these tasty recipes we love for summer:
Basil Watermelon Gazpacho (via MindBodyGreen)
Chicken Tostadas with Avocado Sauce (via Good Housekeeping)
The weather is warming up and the days are getting longer, which means the outdoor goodness of summer is right around the corner. It’s time to fire up the grill, put your swimsuit on, and you’re your workout outside! All of this is great for our mood and sense of vitality, but if we’re not careful the summer sun can wreak havoc on our skin. This time of year it is extra important to be prepared and protect yourself from the sun’s harmful rays.
Of course, a daily dose of sunshine isn’t all bad — in fact, it gives your body the vitamin D it needs to feel happy and healthy.. But a little goes a long way. The sun’s UV (ultra violet) rays are strong and can permanently injure and deteriorate the quality of your skin. As you’re soaking up your vitamin D it’s important to balance sun exposure with sun protection to avoid skin damage. unprotected sun exposure causes age spots, reduces your skin’s elasticity, and accelerates the aging process. It also increases your risk of developing a number of different types of skin cancer, some of which can be fatal.
The good news is, most of the damage the sun can do is totally preventable as long as you have the right protective measures in place. So, before you head out to soak up the sun, make sure you take the following steps to protect yourself from its rays.
It’s no secret that sunscreen is one of your best defenses against UV rays, but it needs to be applied correctly in order to be effective. That means slathering it on your whole body 30 minutes before going outside, so your skin has time to absorb it, and reapplying it at least every two hours. SPF of 30 or above is ideal, and to ensure your skin’s protection, be sure not to go below SPF 15.
Not all clothing is created equal when it comes to protecting your skin. Tightly-woven fabric will protect much better than loose fabric, as will darker colors. But if you really want to protect yourself to the best of your ability, then wearing clothes with built-in UV protection, like a rash guard, is your best bet.
Sunglasses do more than enhance our outfits; they also protect our eyes from diseases inflicted from too much sun exposure. That said, not all sunglasses protect your peepers. Before you purchase new shades, make sure the label says, “UV absorption up to 400nm” or “Meets ANSI UV requirements” because that means they’re blocking at least 99% of rays.
Get help from hats
Hats protect the areas of our body that we often overlook when applying sunscreen, including your ears, neck, and scalp. These areas of your body are just as susceptible to damage as any other, so you definitely want to make sure they’re protected. A hat with a two-three-inch brim is sufficient, but the bigger, the better.
Avoid tanning beds
A lot of people carry the misconception that a tanning bed’s rays won’t harm them. Plainly put, this isn’t true. Most tanning beds use both UVA and UVB rays, both of which can cause long-term skin damage and increase your risk of cancer. So, it’s in your health’s best interest to avoid them entirely and opt for sunless tanning lotion or spray tans to get that healthy-looking glow without hurting your health.
Once you’ve checked off these boxes, you can enjoy all that summer has to offer without worrying about the sun damaging your hard-earned health.
Summer is just around the corner, which means a lot of us are gearing up for barbecues, parties, and plenty of fun to take advantage of the warmer months. And while that’s completely awesome, it can also make it a little too tempting to put your health and wellness on the backburner – which is why the gym is usually a bit emptier over summer. That said, it is important AND possible to be consistent with your exercise routine year round. With a little discipline, encouragement, and some friendly competition going to the gym (even when the sun is shining at 7PM) is actually a lot of fun. For this blog post we reached out to fellow fitness experts for creative summer programming ideas. We loved hearing what they had to say! Incorporate these tools into your summer workout to stay on track this summer and beyond.
Total Woman Gym + Spa does a lot to keep members plugged into their wellness during the busy months of summer. According to Barbara Wehrer, Fitness Program Manager, Total Woman is running a simple and fun challenge using their mobile app. “For the months of June and July we’re tracking gym check-ins, and the member with the most check-ins over the two-month period wins,” says Wehrer. And Total Woman isn’t the only gym using challenges as means of engaging members. Jen Dean, owner of Solstice Urban Retreat, says they keep their members engaged by offering a “30-day challenge in May,” while Donielle Stutland of WheelPower Studio says they “run a ‘summer camp’ challenge” to keep their members active during these busy months.
Joining local fitness challenges, or even signing up for one online, can be really effective when it comes to getting motivated and staying on track with your goals. Not only does it signal to your brain that you’re committed to your health and wellness journey, but it will connect you to others on similar journeys who can offer support and encouragement, as well as hold you accountable on those days you’re feeling extra sluggish.
Switch Things Up
Additionally, Total Woman emphasizes education, giving members plenty of new and innovative ways to keep moving so they don’t get bored or burnt out. “To encourage variety of movement – and keep members curious - we’re breaking the summer months into four two-week segments. In each 2 week period we’ll provide specific workouts using different pieces of equipment and areas of the gym.” Having a specific, time bound focus makes the weeks go by faster and fosters feelings of productivity and accomplishment.
If you feel yourself dreading the gym rather than looking forward to it, it might just be a matter of switching up your routine. Doing the same thing day in and day out can get really boring and make it hard to stay engaged. So, take a cue from Total Woman and make an effort to try different means of exercise. Maybe it’s a yoga class, maybe it’s a bootcamp, or maybe it’s trying your hand at high-intensity interval training. As long as it’s something you’re not used to, your mind and body will be stimulated.
Goal-setting is another simple tool you can use to stay on track when those summer barbecues are feeling too hard to resist. Sara Hodson, President of LIVE WELL Exercise Clinic, uses this tactic: “We ask members to set a goal of X extra minutes of exercise per week (on top of what they currently do). They write their goal on a colorful sticky note each week and post it on our clinic wall."
It’s been proven time and again that the simple act of writing out our goals on a sheet of paper can greatly increase our chances of achieving them. And sharing them with your community makes it even more compelling. So do it! Even better, write them down in a few places. We suggest putting goal reminders in places where you know you’ll see them regularly, like your refrigerator, computer, and bathroom mirror.
While it’s true that warm summer months can tempt us to veer off track, if you prioritize keeping yourself challenged and stimulated while you work toward concrete goals, we bet you’ll find resisting the temptation to quit a whole lot easier.
Each month Total Woman Gym + Spa highlights the unique contributions of women in our community. By acknowledging and supporting our collective journeys - in the gym, at home, at work, and beyond – we thrive.
With an impressive resume as author, journalist, commentator and entrepreneur, we find this powerful woman one of the most influential female voices of our time. This Greece native was born Ariadnē-Anna Stasinopoúlou, but we know her as Arianna Huffington, the co-founder of The Huffington Post.
Although she stepped down from her role as Editor In Chief of The Huffington Post in late 2016, her work is far from over. Arianna Huffington is now devoted to her startup Thrive Global, which shares health and wellness information. The mission of Thrive Global is definitely one we stand behind: to end the stress and burnout epidemic by offering companies and individuals sustainable, science-based solutions to enhance both wellbeing and performance.
Her shift in platforms began years ago when sleep deprivation caused her to pass out at her desk and break her cheekbone. That jarring occurrence made her realize the immense stress she was under. Huffington admits the pressure she put on herself to do it all and “be the perfect mother” was damaging her health. She was suffering from burnout and realized that millions of women and men also experience this same exhaustion. “We are living under the collective delusion that [burnout] improves our performance, which it doesn’t,” she states.
Huffington is determined to help others prioritize their health by taking sleep seriously. “Sleep is free, sleep is available,” shares Huffington. There’s a resounding idea in our society that sleep is wasted time and Huffington wants to shatter that belief. In her book The Sleep Revolution, she uncovers the science of sleep and offers advice on how we can thrive and improve performance with just a few more hours of rest.
One simple tip we should all follow, and one that Huffington herself abides by, is to keep your phone away from the bed at night. Huffington advises to leave it in the other room and definitely never touch your phone when you’re in bed (no matter how tempted). The device disrupts your body’s sleep state.
Stress is something we all have and sleep is something we all need. As a woman who has seen the cruel harm stress can do, we should all take a bit of advice from Arianna Huffington – sleep, sleep, sleep.