As the summer months come to a close, you may feel like you have to squeeze in as much fun as possible before the leaves change and the cold sets in. However, just because summer is winding down, your health goals don’t have to. Having fun and staying motivated to achieve your health and wellness goals aren’t mutually exclusive.
That said, when we are so focused on accomplishing a goal, we often forget to have fun. However, remember — goals are meant to support your happiness and enjoying the process is a big part of the success equation.
So, as we near towards the end of August and you schedule in those Labor Day weekend summer plans, try some new healthy recipes and fun ways to exercise, so you can continue living an active lifestyle and meeting those end-of-summer health goals, all while having fun.
Here are five ideas to get you started.
1. Get Outside as Much as Possible
Soak up the sun while you can, but don’t just laze by the pool. Instead, plan some outdoor activities that get your body moving.
Before, during, or after the workday, go for a walk in the park or around town. When you have more time on the weekends, plan activities like swimming, hiking, or cycling. Even at the beach, you can get in a round of beach volleyball for some active fun before you hit your beach towel with your favorite book.
Staying active outdoors allows you to enjoy the end of summer and helps you burn more calories, as exercising on natural terrain rather than on a piece of gym equipment requires more work.
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2. Plan a Healthy Picnic
Cookouts are a staple end-of-summer activity, whether packing up a simple lunch to eat in the park or planning an all-out picnic extravaganza with family and friends. However, consider skipping the typical fatty, calorie-laden picnic classics like potato and pasta salads and the overly processed hot dogs or deli meat sandwiches.
Instead, plan a healthier cookout by taking advantage of the bountiful summer produce. Pack veggie-heavy sandwiches made with spinach, tomatoes, sliced cucumbers and bell peppers, and healthier condiments like hummus. For sides, consider fruit salads and fresh veggies.
As you pack your picnic basket, don’t forget to also bring along some activities that will get you and your fellow picnic-goers moving, such as a frisbee or a football.
3. Get Creative with Your Beverages
While most backyard barbecues are more likely to offer your run-of-the-mill beers and cocktails, get creative and make your own mocktails, using fresh ingredients such as seasonal fruit, sparkling water, teas, kombucha, and herbs. This will help you avoid dehydration and the unhealthy properties of alcohol-based beverages and give you something fun and flavorful to sip on without worrying about empty calories or hangovers.
If you bring canned mocktails, check the ingredients for added sugars and other ingredients that could negate any healthful properties.
4. Experiment in the Kitchen
If you’re tired of the typical healthy fare you’ve been eating all summer (or year-round), begin experimenting in the kitchen or at the grill with nutritious dishes you can get excited about.
Tired of grilling chicken or fish? Consider grilling items like tofu, veggies, and fruits. Look for seasonal offerings at your local farmers market, like heirloom tomatoes, watermelon, corn on the cob, peaches, and berries.
5. Plan Active Social Gatherings
As you gather with friends and family to enjoy the last days of summer, opt for social activities that get you moving versus just sitting around a picnic table, pool, or campfire. Plan a day of beach volleyball, swimming in the pool, or playing other outdoor games. If you’re planning a smaller get-together with just one or two other people, opt for a walking date, play a game of tennis, or go golfing.
The Bottom Line
If it seems like your health goals and late summer plans aren’t exactly compatible, remember to be flexible and adjust your expectations to remain on track to success. While it’s important to have fun, try to maintain a balanced approach to your lifestyle; moderation is key.
As Adrienne Farrell, Director of Corporate Wellness at Arootah notes, “Staying on track with your health goals is not a linear path; in fact, the pursuit of well-being is an ongoing dynamic process with many twists and turns. In order to thrive, we must learn to navigate this journey with grace, self-love, and an open mind. It’s important to enjoy life and have fun, while also honoring the essential needs of our bodies and minds.”
Need more help sticking to your health goals or even just getting started? Learn about Arootah’s health coaching services and book a free consultation today!