July 26, 2010

The ABCs of Summer Success: Part Three

How quickly time flies when your weeks are packed with to-do lists, planning schedules, and of course, enjoying those late summer evenings!  Our three-week series comes to an end today with Part Three of   bene-fit's tips for your healthiest and most active summer ever. 

The calendar tells us that summer begins with Memorial Day and ends with Labor Day -  so use these last few tips to help "fill the gap" until September and get the most out of each and every sunny day.

Are you already a runner, cyclist, swimmer, rower, or other sportsperson?  Why not test your skills in a friendly, competitive environment against a group of peers?  Summer is a great time to train for an endurance event or short race and enjoy the challenge of trying your hardest - and maybe even reaching a new personal record or goal.  For some endurance events in the Southern California area, check out Raceplace Online.

Remember what it felt like to be a kid and spend all day splashing around in the pool?  Why not revisit those fun-loving days with a splash around your local pool?  You can swim laps, kickboard, play water volleyball, take an Aqua Fitness class, or jog through the shallow end for an effective, cool, sun-filled workout that won't even leave you feeling sweaty.  No pool?  Visit a nearby lake, river, or beach and enjoy the natural scenery while you get active.

Please note: bene-fit would never advocate getting in one of those death-beds and using an indoor lamp to tan your skin!  On the other hand, summer just doesn't feel like summer without a robust, healthy, sunless glow.  New to the fake bake?  Try a light bronzer lotion or shimmer powder for your face.  Ready to take the plunge?  Invest in an organic self-tanning solution to upgrade your look from fair to fabulous.

Let's be honest - in the fun and sun of summer's spell, you may have neglected some of your most valuable parts - and the results might not be so sunny!  Now is a great time to go through your "unmentionables" and make sure you have 100% cotton undergarments to wear when the summer heat and humidity make down-there diseases (like yeast infections) a very real possibility.  Need some wicking undies for active sports?  Find his and hers here.

We all have one - the inner voice that talks to us when we look in the mirror, when we get scared, or when we're bursting with pride over a recent accomplishment.  Take some time to actually sit down and listen to that voice - making sure to note whether it tends to be positive or negative most of the time - and figure out how that little voice connects to the innermost yearnings in your heart and mind.  Meditation is a great way to spend some focused time listening to yourself and interpreting the messages you send yourself each day.

Dehydration is one of the most common detriments to summer activities - too little water, and we can become unfocused, confused, and sick.  On the other side of the spectrum is hyponatremia, the consequence of drinking too much water without enough sodium intake to manage the hydration.  Not sure how much water you need every day?  Check out this handy hydration calculator to find out how much H2O you really need.

Ok, so maybe we don't want to make you a legitimate "xenomaniac" (someone who has an inordinate attachment to foreign customs, institutions, or manners) - but bene-fit believes that there is a great deal to be learned from the cultures of other countries - particularly about health.  For example, did you know that Guatemalans boil and drink tea made from oregano to combat asthma without drugs or inhalers?  Ask friends and family for their "home remedies" and broaden your understanding of how to be holistically healthy.

If you haven't tuned in to 0% Greek yogurt, you are missing out on one of the lowest-sugar, highest-protein snacks you can possibly sneak into a lunchbox!  For an extra-special and icy-cool summer treat (enjoy sparingly!), get the protein and probiotic bene-fits with a bit more sweetness with frozen Greek yogurt.

Haven't checked out the latest dance craze sweeping gyms across America?  Check your local fitness center to see if they offer this high-energy, all-ages dance class that promises to help you "ditch the workout, join the party!"  No Zumba in your area?  Try an at-home version with a Zumba DVD!

Thanks for following bene-fit through the "ABCs" of your summer success - check back with us next Monday for more great health, fitness, diet, and wellness tips!

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