We’ve just passed the Summer solstice and have three months ahead of us of long days, sunshine and warm evenings. People in Portland breathe a collective sigh of relief this time of year, finally a reprieve from the rain and a chance to head out to all of the festivals Portland is famous for. Transitioning into your summer lifestyle can also be the perfect chance to transition into a healthier lifestyle. With an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables, and longer, warmer, drier days, it’s easier to live healthy in the summer than any other time of year.
First of all, it’s time to modify your diet. In the winter our bodies naturally crave heavier, richer foods and more of it. In the summer the opposite is true. Because the days are so hot, our bodies gravitate more towards colder, lighter foods. Many people with weight issues have difficulty listening to their bodies, but this summer try to make a practice of it. If you’re craving a slushee from the convenience store, your body is probably telling you that you need something cool and sweet. Luckily, summer fruits like berries, peaches and melons are flying off the shelves at the stores. Fresh fruit is abundant this time of year, and it’s the antidote to that sweet, cold craving. Veggies might be a harder sell-we don’t tend to crave them if we’re not used to eating them. But again, summer is the time of year that the most plentiful and luscious vegetables are in season. Making meals fun! Plan a picnic in the park to combine healthy eating and a little exercise.
Second, it’s easier to squeeze exercise in the summer. When it’s pouring out, it’s hard to motivate yourself to walk or bike to work. In the summer, this can be a treat instead of a chore. There are also lots of outdoor exercise venues, many of them free, or relatively inexpensive. After work, take a walk in your local park, or a swim in your local pool. Meet a friend for a casual game of tennis or throw a Frisbee around. Because the weather is so nice, it’s you won’t need to worry so much about layering or working around the weather. My suggestion is to keep a pair of walking or running shoes in your car, so you can break them out whenever you have a little spare time. If you are feeling ambitious, one of the great advantages of the Pacific Northwest is how easy it is to get out into the wilderness in a relatively short amount of time. There are beautiful hikes of various difficulty levels on the Oregon coast, the Columbia Gorge and Mt. Hood, to name only a few. Make a day trip of it, or even try a camp out!