Your guide to a great summer all while moving towards optimal health!
This summer we want you to do all of the things you love without compromising your goals or health. We’ve covered a few ways that you can continue with your goals all while enjoying all of the things summer has to offer!
Why are injuries occurring in my summer workout?
For lots of us, summer is a time where we can kick back and spend more time in the outdoors. Victoria is an amazing place to that as we have fantastic hikes, lovely lakes, and beautiful biking trails. While you start to introduce your new summer hobby whether paddle boarding, hiking, or roller blading, it is crucial to take all of your knowledge from your gym workouts into the real world. We typically see quite a few people who actually end up hurting themselves while trying to be active during the summer months. This is usually caused by one of three reasons:
- You are doing a new activity that you have never done before and your body isn’t quite sure how to move properly in the new sport
- You hop right into an activity you love, but you don’t take time to warm up before or stretch afterward
- You are enjoying the activity so much that you forget all of your head to toe checks when performing you favorite summer sport
Now of course we want you to enjoy all that summer weather brings, but we also want to make sure you are keeping your body happy while you do it! Here are some reminders that you should think about while doing your favorite summer activities (including: paddle boarding, kayaking, hiking, swimming, running, cycling, or even gardening!)
- Is your core engaged?! Make sure you are staying really stable in your core so that your back will be happy at the end of your activity! Don’t forget to continue with your core and pilates classes during those summer months.
- Are your shoulders relaxed? Keep the shoulder blades down the back while performing your activity. Remember to keep the sternum (or chest) lifted to help elongate the upper back and keep your shoulders away from your ears to get rid of unnecessary tension.
- Look at your knees! Are you locking your knees and causing hyper-extension? While performing your activities make sure that your knees are relaxed. You should have a soft bend in your knees to avoid putting too much pressure on them.
- How are your hips moving? Think of your hips as your pivot point. If you are gardening you want to make sure to bend from the hips- not the back! Same thing with cycling- are you engaging your hips a lot while on your bike? Make sure to stretch them out after to help alleviate low back and hip pain
- Are you breathing? Breathing is KEY! If you are trying out a water sport like kayaking or you are lifting heavy planters for your new garden, you want to make sure to EXHALE ON EFFORT. Whichever part of your movement is the hardest is when you want to breathe out. This will help to maintain steady breath, but more importantly it will signal you body to contract your core which can help you stay stable and secure within range of motion.
Keeping your fitness routine in line with your goals this summer will help you achieve them and maintain a healthy and strong body while doing them! You only have to meet with your trainer for 45 minutes to get an awesome workout and not only that but it will help you create the proper movement patterns to execute all of the summer activities you love!
Stay cool, calm, and collected this summer!
Summer is the season for reducing stress, relaxing, playing outdoors and spontaneity. The sun is at its highest and brightest during the summer, as a result, can easily lead to burn out of self and others. It’s important to take time for relaxation and breathing to cool the body and the mind.
SUMMER MORNING RITUALS:
- Strive to wake up around 6am -supportive of the natural rhythm of the sun
- Before you drink anything scrape your tongue using a tongue scraper (I bought mine on amazon- I prefer metal)
- Next do 2-3 mins of oil pulling (swishing coconut oil in your mouth)
- Drink warm water with lime and/or fresh mint
- ¼ cup aloe vera gel or juice on an empty stomach to lubricate and cool the body, support digestion and daily elimination of toxins.
- Self- massage with coconut oil every morning or night before your shower: relaxes the nervous system, detoxifies the blood and nourishes body tissues
SUMMER MEAL ROUTINES:
- Eat consistently at the same time every day to support and balance the digestive system
- Practice mindful eating everyday by eating away from electronics
- Digestion is weaker in the summer because our agni “digestive fire” that is used to fire up and support our digestive organs in the winter is now being redirected to the surface of the body to cool us down through sweating
Cooling Foods to Incorporate Into Your Summer Diet
Coconut is extremely hydrating for the body especially helpful to add in during this summer heat wave we are experiencing! There are so many fun ways to incorporate coconut into your diet such as adding coconut water into your morning smoothie, indulging in creamy coconut milk ice cream, and using coconut oil in salad dressings. Not only is coconut delicious to eat its also ridiculously hydrating for your skin. After those long beach days in sun try coconut oil massaging to cool down your body, calm the mind, and rejuvenate the skin.
Aloe vera juice and gel are my go to summer must have for a few different reasons. Alcohol can challenging to avoid in the summer because lets be honest there’s usually always a BBQ, pool party or patio gathering that’s happening on the regular. Alcohol is extremely heating for the body and can, as a result, be very aggravating for our digestive system, mood, skin, the list goes on. I’m not saying that you need to completely cut out alcohol and avoid all social functions, however, its important to maintain balance within the body in whatever form that looks like – drinking or not drinking. A great health hack I like to do after a late night of a few too many kombucha cocktails is to take a shot of aloe vera juice or gel before going to bed and first thing when I wake up. Not only is aloe extremely cooling for the digestive track, its also very hydrating for the body. My favourite brand is Lily of the valley (inner leaf).
Cilantro, Mint, Parsley
This herb trio is my go to for fresh summer cuisine. Pick up a few bundles at your local farmers market and try adding them into your smoothies, salads, or salsas. I especially love infusing fresh mint into my water bottle for my morning yoga class or steeping a few leaves in my tea cup in the evening after a long day.These herbs are particularly cooling for the body and help to reduce overheating both physically and mentally.
There’s a lot of hype about lemons in the summer but lets not forget about its close competitor limes! I love squeezing fresh lime juice into my homemade salsas, infusing into my water or adding lime zest into coconut bliss balls to give it that extra punch of flavor. (Stay tuned for the recipe!)
Cucumber is a very water dense vegetable extremely hydrating and cooling for the body. I literally can eat an entire cucumber in one sitting with some fresh hummus or sea salt. Cucumbers add a delicious texture to salads whether they are cubed, sliced, or spiralized. I take infused water really seriously if you haven’t already noticed. I must say adding cucumber into your water is beyond refreshing!
Who can resist a fresh slice of watermelon on a hot summers day? There’s literally nothing more liberating then devouring a slice of this hydrating fruit like you did when you were a kid- stickiness all over your face and dripping hands. I love making watermelon salad in the summer with fresh mint and dairy free “almond feta” cheese. Watermelon is also fantastic for hydrating your skin in the summer. I love this watermelon slushie face mask recipe from Your Irresistible Life 4 Seasons of Self-Care Through Ayurveda and Yoga Practices That Work
(see full recipe insert below from this amazing book!)
Summer Face Slushie – helps to keep your skin bright, cool, and glowing by protecting it from oily blemishes and harsh rays of the sun.
– 1/2 cup watermelon pulp
– 1 tbsp aloe vera gel (whole leaf or inner leaf)
– 1 tbsp whole milk plain yogurt (dairy free options could work as well)
– 3 drops geranium, rose or lavender essential oil.
Mix together and apply generously to face. Lie in your hammock, outside on your deck, or in a cool place inside. Leave on for 10-15 mins. Wash off with cool water.
Most of us associate summer squash with a typical green zucchini. However this group of squash is wildly abundant in the summer and comes in all different shapes, sizes and flavours. Try roasting patty pan squash in the oven, grate yellow squash into muffins, or stir frying cousa squash for quick and easy dinners. I typically eat zucchini a tone in the summer because its super cheap to buy and extremely versatile to cook with. Its also really low in carbohydrates which is really helpful when tying to keep your blood sugar balanced. My favourite ways to use zucchini is to steam and freeze it for grab and go morning smoothies or slicing it into in inch thick rounds and roasting in the oven with sea salt.
Avocado is the bomb. I couldn’t imagine having to actually remind myself to eat this food because it tastes so ridiculously good but if you are in need of some avo-inspiration you are in the right place. Blend avocado with cocoa and dates for a creamy chocolate pudding, slice it up for a fresh blueberry salad or spread in on your morning toast…hello natures mayonnaise! This whole food is an extremely nourishing source of healthy fat that helps to keep you fueled for hours.
Daily yoga practice to keep you cool, calm and collected
Benefits: Lowers body temperature, cools the mind, reduces hot flashes, hormone balancing
- Sit in a comfortable position (in a chair, with your back against the wall, or crossed legged) – wherever you can have an elongated spine.
- Establish a slow, calm, and steady breathing pattern in and out of your nostrils.
- Stick out your tongue and curl the edges of your tongue to create a tube. Take a long, slow, steady breath in through the tongue. Focus on this cooling air entering the body.
- At the end of your inhalation, close your mouth and exhale through the nose.
- Repeat 10-50 times.
Tip: If you are unable to curl the tongue like a tube then open your mouth really wide, but keep your teeth together. Inhale the breath through the teeth and follow the above directions.
Instructions and tips provided by Your Irresistible Life 4 Seasons of Self-Care Through Ayurveda and Yoga Practices That Work
The Power of Play
The summer season is upon us and we are so fortunate to live in one of the most amazing places in the world to go out and create your own adventures! Do you love to be out on the water – boating or kayaking? Or maybe you love to explore the wilderness – finding epic new places to camp and hike. There is no time like the summer to reignite your passion for play.
We live in a world where we are often driven to achieve… to spend our days checking things off our to-do lists. We strive to complete as many tasks as possible in a given week and wear “busy” and “exhausted” like a badge of honour.
This summer, we invite you to get back to the essence of what it means to PLAY.
Dr. Stuart Brown, founder of the National Institute for Play, has provided some very compelling evidence that play is an essential component of our health and wellbeing. He writes “The opposite of play is not work – the opposite of play is depression.”
Brown’s research shows how play shapes our brain, helping us to develop empathy and navigate social groups. He discusses how play allows us to engage with life in a deeper and more meaningful way and to explore our sense of purpose. Play is truly at the core of creativity and innovation.
What does it mean to play?
Play is not a goal-oriented process. Play is not about achievement or competition. It is about creating, exploring, and losing track of time. Play is anything that truly feels good, feeds your soul, and allows you to lose your sense of being self-conscious or inhibited. Play helps us reconnect with our authentic self.
How can we create the experience of play in our lives?
As adults, many of us have lost touch with what it means to play. Follow the lead of a child. Splash in the waves, throw a frisbee on the beach, climb a tree or even play some hopscotch. On your next camping trip, pull out a board game or play some charades.
Most importantly – be in the moment. There is a sense of peace and joy that comes from allowing yourself time to release the to-do list, renew your spirit and experience the transformative power of play.