The Power of Summer



Summer represents one powerful transformation in the human mind and body.  The increased days of abundant sunshine and the availability of the season’s fruits and vegetables supply the body with extra vitamins and antioxidants.   As metabolism increases, calories burn naturally.  It’s no wonder the season delivers the perfect prescription for health, nutrition, exercise, and happiness.  In our habits, we don’t have to say goodbye to the season.  The regimen can last all year long!

Visiting Farmers’ Markets

Meet our local growers and support their efforts by attending the many farmers’ markets across the Piedmont.  In addition to purchasing freshly picked produce, you can discover what local growers and farmers offer patrons.  From handmade butter and cheese to weekly produce boxes, the marketplace expands the opportunity to learn more about nutritious health! As you eat light, small meals, focus on fruits and vegetables containing a high water content, such as peaches, oranges, melons, cucumbers, and tomatoes.

Berries

Blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries contain antioxidants and vitamins A, C, and E.  One cup of berries daily can rid the body of oxidative stress and prevent premature aging and immune system disorders!  Consider adding fresh fruit to smoothies, yogurt, granola, or salads, and desserts.

Homegrown

In August, gardeners can start planting fall crops.  Think of the benefits of having ample lettuce, onions, carrots, and other cool-weather vegetables.  Don’t worry if space is an issue.  Consider building a small raised bed or using a barrel, bucket, or a tiered greenhouse to grow your favorite vegetables or fruits.  (Please read and follow planting advice.  Each crop, vine, or cane may require a creative support structure!)

Hydration

After six to eight hours of recommended nightly sleep, the body needs to release toxins.   Drinking a minimum of one eight-ounce glass of water can quickly maintain the proper functioning of internal organs and keep the skin radiant.  It’s an advantage, especially as temperatures climb beyond 90 degrees.  Remember to travel with plenty of fluids and listen to your body.  Enjoy flavored water; then, consider preparing a pitcher of cucumber- or berry-infused water!

Exercise Often!  

With children at home or a spouse welcoming retirement, the decision to become physically active is one of the best things to boost mental and physical health.  Take advantage of the cool morning temperatures to develop an exercise regimen. Perhaps, yoga, walking, and biking are preferable activities, while a partner finds dancing, swimming, and kayaking enjoyable!   Getting outdoors every day will lead to a steady rate of progress. Begin with a partner to encourage you, or join a group!  (Just remember to hydrate before, during, and after your workout sessions, even if you do not feel thirsty!)

Hobbies and Eliminating Stress

Where can you lose all sense of time?  For some, the answer is in books or fabric, mixing bowls or gardening tools, and others may delve into bird watching or writing letters.  In moments of high stress, we need a hobby, an activity that eases the heart rate and promotes tranquility and energy.  It doesn’t need to stop at the end of the season; find a way to keep going!

Sunscreen Protection

Enjoying the outdoors also implies a need to protect against the leading cause of sunburn, ultra-violet rays!  As it may be difficult to discern between various types of sunscreens, consider the following information.

  • “Broad-spectrum” is a term that protects the skin against sunburn, aging, and cancer.
  • “Sun protection factor,” SPF, is a level of protection provided by a sunscreen. SPF 15 filters out 93%, while SPF 30 contains a barrier filtering 97%. And, in terms of price, is it cost-effective to purchase SPF 50 when it offers a shield of 98%?
  • “Water-resistant” labels do not imply the ingredients are waterproof or sweat-proof. Most lotions require application after either 40 or 80 minutes. The best practice is to read the label and follow its suggestion for reapplications.
  • In permanent marker, record the year of purchase on each bottle. Most sunscreens remain at their original strength after three years.

Keep a hat and sunglasses that block at least 99% of UV rays by the front door, and in your vehicle!  In addition to protecting your skin, it’s an excellent idea to think of your vision, too!

The transformation does not have to dim with the arrival of Autumn.  Strive to continue to find the best aspect of you through acts of wellness!


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