#BIGBARBG: This summer has been interesting. Throughout the country there have been some extremes with heat, floods, fires, and storms. In other areas, the summer has been relatively mild. For example, in the region I live in, although we have had some very hot and humid days, it has not been as hot as the last several summer seasons, dubbing this summer as mild so far. We have literally had a few mornings with temperatures in the 50’s. This type of weather should definitely encourage us to get out and move. But, thank goodness, summer is not over. Aren’t you excited? We have several more weeks of sun and fun; and hopefully, great weather that will inspire us.
I do hope you are excited; I am. I hope the long days and warm weather is encouraging you to get on with your “Father’s” business in an area that we so often neglect; that is, the “business” of taking care of yourself. Summer is a good time to get in the move and groove of good health habits that will benefit you for the rest of your life. It is a good time to focus on taking care of your temple.
Recently I read a post from my nephew on Facebook that said, “Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is a journey, not a destination, and that journey requires discipline.” John Maxwell said, “If you desire to improve your physical well-being and your emotional outlook, increasing your faith can help you.” Therefore, your love for God can help you get in shape!!!! Protect your temple; protect your body. I truly believe as is indicated in God’s Word, that He desires us to take care of ourselves; He desires that we be in good health. He desires that we take care of our bodies; it is our responsibility. In order for us to do this we need commitment, discipline, and consistency. The characteristics of summer can help us begin to build or build upon a health and wellness regimen that will continue through the fall and winter months. We must have faith and believe that God can help us along this journey. He puts in our view daily, help for this journey. He supplies our every need for this journey.
Consider the following characteristics of this blessed season (summer) which can contribute to our journey for better health:
1. Summer time is full of sunshine and is a reminder to us to take care of our skin. Yes, all people and all skin colors-white, black, brown, yellow, etc.-need to take special care of their skin during the summer months to protect from the high UV waves that come from sunlight. The ultraviolet rays from the sun gives out a portion of electromagnetic radiation that can be damaging to our skin and can even cause skin cancer. Therefore, discipline yourself to use sunscreen whenever you are out in the sun and have your skin exposed. Use safe and effective sunscreens that do not have ingredients that increase your risk of skin cancer.
2. Summer is a time of growing and harvesting and a good time to increase your intake of fruits and vegetables. Fresh fruits and veggies are more available during the summer months and you have more opportunity to engage “farm to table” practices in your eating habits. Farmers markets and farmer co-ops may be available in your community, giving you more access to fresh fruits and vegetables. Sometimes the local grocery stores and markets will have fresh fruits and vegetables available to customers. Even many restaurants are part of the farm to table movement. You can eat fresh during the summer and purchase and store (i.e. freeze, can) for the fall and winter. Why is it important to eat more fruits and veggies? Vegetables and fruits have many properties for protecting your health from cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and much more! By eating more vegetables and fruits you can give your body the vitamins and minerals it craves and protect your cells from the damage free radicals cause.
3. Summer is typically hot and sometimes humid, and is a good time to get in the habit of drinking lots of fluids; particularly water. It is okay to during other fluids but I will put emphasis on water. Water is a necessary item for your health and wellness journey. For sure, when I list fluids, I do not mean sodas; diet or not. During the summer, of course, staying hydrated is critical because the hot weather provides more opportunity for us to become dehydrated especially if we are out moving in the sun and heat. However, hydration is important year round and creating a good, healthy habit of drinking water frequently throughout the day will bring health benefits that are immeasurable.
4. Summer is a time to be outdoors. Go outdoors. The weather is nice, which gives you more opportunity to go outside and play. This includes your workout; why not take your workout routine outdoors? Many outdoor activities are natural calorie-burners and are a lot of fun. Things like riding a bike, swimming, or simply running around and playing tag with your kids, fetch with the dog; or even gardening. Plan things outdoors on purpose; infuse your social activities with fitness. For example, when you go out on a date with friends or spouse, include a walk while you are out. Have outdoor barbecues with family and friends and include activities like volley ball or badminton. Purposefully including outdoor physical activity in your day to day journey toward health and wellness will definitely fuel your desire to keep moving.
5. Summer can also be a mixed bag so here are several quick suggestions for our journey. Lighten your meals by incorporating water-based fruits and fresh vegetables in your meal planning. Be a happy snacker but make sure that the items you include are options made from pure and simple ingredients. Take advantage of the early sun. Rise and shine and enjoy the sunrise. You can do this by taking an early morning walk or just taking your morning cup of coffee or tea out on the patio as you meditate and pray. Do something new and different to inspire your journey during the summer preparing you to move through the fall and winter.
Yes, summer will be over in the next few weeks, but until then enjoy and use its beautifully created features to help you along this journey of health and wellness.