Summertime!  A glorious time of year ~ a season filled with vacations, weddings, barbeques and other warm weather activities that make it easy to forget about our healthy habits.  This time of year can be filled with opportunities to over eat and over drink and over expose ourselves to the sun.

The best way to reduce the risk of the problems related to the “overs” is to make your healthy habits habitual.  Kind of like brushing your teeth or applying sunscreen before heading out to the pool, these are habits that are typically automatic.  Healthy habits should be automatic too.  You know if you do not brush your teeth, you risk getting a cavity.  If you do not apply sunscreen, you risk getting burned.  If you spend the majority of your summer over eating or drinking too many unhealthy beverages, you risk a host of unwelcome experiences, not to mention weight gain.

One of the best ways to make a new habit is to repeat the behavior. A great way to start a wanted habit is to write it down.  Since healthy habits means creating more than one, write up a short list.  This will allow you to see what you need to do, and even check them off as you get them done on a daily basis.  Once it becomes part of your lifestyle, this to-do list will become part of your routine.

Let’s start with EATING REAL.  Summer is one of the best times to enjoy ideal health foods.  Peaches, plums and berries all have healthy properties and should be included in salads, on the grill or in hand.  Vegetables are also plentiful and fresh during the summer months.  Enjoy them raw or grilled to experience their fine flavor and texture.

I would place HYDRATE on the list next.  In the heat, your body naturally loses essential minerals due to sweating.  These fluids need to be replaced or you will experience fatigue, cramps and exhaustion.  Drinking filtered water throughout the day will definitely alleviate this problem.  Sports drinks and soda should be avoided, especially if your activity level is low.  Those drinks contain sodium and sugar/sugar substitute— both are caloric beasts that wreck havoc on your systems.

Thirdly, I would put EXERCISE on that list.  Summertime is the best time to get outside and play!  Go hiking, swimming or running. Throw a frisbee, take a walk or get on your bike.  Just get outside and move.  Include your family to encourage healthy habits for all…a family that plays together, stays together.

Finally, SLEEP…resist the urge to stay up too late during long summer days.  Create a sleep routine, keeping bedtime and wake up time regulated.  Avoid drinking alcohol within three hours of your bedtime.  Shoot for a full eight hours.

So, what are you waiting for? Write up your list and post it in your home so you are reminded of these simple routines everyday.  Your summer will still be full of fun and your body will thank you by feeling fantastic!