For many kids, summer signals carefree living, vacations to the beach, joining sports leagues, and otherwise having fun. For too many adults, and parents, in particular, however, summertime can be hectic. Balancing the hectic pace of summer recreation with work and parenting responsibilities can be challenging, and can lead to stress and, in extreme cases, illness. Here are a few tips to keep the fun going while maintaining health and happiness. —C. Bernard Obie
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5 Easy Ways to Have a Happy, Healthy Summer
Here are a few tips to keep the fun going while maintaining health and happiness.
1 of 5/ 1) Stay hydrated – drink lots of water!
The high temps during summer can really add to the amount of water we need to consume. Add in moderate physical activity, and the usually required 64 oz. per day can double. Adequate water consumption benefits the body and the mind, improving physical performance and endurance, as well as improving thinking, concentration, and cognition. Water helps to keep the body cool, and is a major component of the elimination process. Some folks consume alcoholic beverages as a way of staying hydrated, but this has obvious undesirable side-effects, and undermines both health and happiness. Use of soda pop, soft drinks, iced-tea, lemonade, coffee and other sugary and caffeinated drinks should be regulated, especially during the summer. Clean, fresh water, God’s gift to hydration, is still the best choice.
2 of 5/ 2) Exercise moderately
If you feel you’re out of shape, start exercising slowly and work your way up to higher impact workouts.
Many folks are in a hurry when it comes to their work-out goals. They want to lose those extra few pounds or inches quickly, or achieve a certain goal that is reminiscent of past ability in younger years. Sometimes this approach can lead to soreness or injury – and an end to the exercise effort. Starting slow and gradually improving is a sure way to enjoy the workout while receiving the benefits of exercising. Beyond the physical and physiological benefits of exercise, our minds also improve. Richly oxygenated blood nourishes our brain, awakening our mental faculties, and sharpening our thinking and reasoning abilities.
3 of 5/ 3) Eat fresh, local, seasonal produce
Summer foods are healthy, naturally!
Watermelon, cantaloupes, tomatoes, summer squash, cucumbers, berries, etc. are delicious foods that are abundant during the summer, and all are filled with nourishing juices and healing nutrition. Watermelon, for example, is high in lycopene, a compound that has strong anti-oxidant properties and protects the body from inflammation and aging. Tomatoes have an even larger lycopene composition. These fruits of summer are full of vitamins and minerals, including Vitamin C and magnesium, which are insufficient in the diets of many Americans. And to top it all off, these foods require little or no preparation, limiting time in the kitchen. Of course, organically grown food is the wise choice.
4 of 5/ 4) Get adequate sleep
“I’m getting my beauty rest” the old folks used to say. They understood the necessity of resting and sleeping to balance out the active side of life, and to give the body time to rejuvenate and renew. The more mentally and physically active you are, the more rest your body requires – generally speaking. Medical experts estimate that 40% of Americans have trouble sleeping and suffer from sleep deprivation, a condition that predicts medical trouble later in life. If possible, put yourself on a schedule and make it a habit. Avoid working and eating and talking late; turn off the television and avoid stimulating movies and/or music; end the day with quiet reflection, deep breathing, and mild stretching to cool down body and mind, and to signal that its time to sleep. Get eight hours of sleep per night, if possible.
5 of 5/ 5) Pray and/or meditate
Taking time to acknowledge God’s role in your life and well-being and giving thanks to God for the blessings of life are powerful ways of deepening our relationship with the Almighty. This is the foundation for stronger, healthier relationships with family, friends, neighbors and associates. We all need each other; “no man is an island…” God is the most profound thing that we all have in common, and love is the tie that binds. Through God’s love for us we can choose to learn to love each other. We become better, and the world becomes a better, more enjoyable place. Amen.
C. Bernard Obie is the steward of Abanitu Organics farm in Roxboro, North Carolina.
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