As with the changes in season, our bodies too begin to adapt to new temperatures and routines – and so begins the 'summer association' when it comes to our fitness, nutrition and frame of mind (*rosé all day, anyone?). We start to crave movement and foods in a different way. We tend to experience a renewed sense of joy and inspiration, and our bodies seek growth and renewal. 'Living' with seasons has been observed in many ways throughout the years, and one of the best ways to understand this theory is through Ayurvedic teachings before we dive into how best to stick to our own personal fitness and nutrition goals.
What is Ayurveda?
Simply put, Ayurveda is the traditional Hindu system of medicine which is based on the idea of holistic healing – balance within the body as a whole, using diet, herbal treatment and mindfulness/yoga/breathing. It promotes living in a way that is aligned with the natural world (1).
In Ayurveda, Spring is classified as a 'Kapha Season', meaning it is characterized by warmth and feels slower than Summer or Fall. Emerging from Winter, for example, it's no wonder that the body begins to crave more movement and lighter meals rather than stodgy, warming curries. So, understanding this concept, what can we do to get aligned with the seasons in order to reap the benefits and stick to our personal wellbeing goals even on holiday?
How to stick to your wellbeing goals and still enjoy Summer
1. Make sure to stay hydrated to avoid unnecessary weight gain
We all know that water is essential for the body – proper hydration helps regulate your body’s temperature, keeps it moisturized, helps protect your spinal cord, lubricates and cushions your joints and removes waste and toxins from your body (2) – important no matter what time of year. However as the weather gets warmer, our bodies start to sweat more, so make sure to increase your water intake especially if you're exercising consistently.
Also, the body can naturally begin to want lighter and sweeter foods when the weather heats up, like salads, fruits and ice cream. One of the best nutrition tips to keep in mind is to check whether you are thirsty before reaching for anything else to satisfy unworthy sugar cravings – it could actually be your body telling you that it wants water (3).
2. Snack smart to help keep you on track with your fitness and nutrition goals
Here are some go-to options to opt for instead of being bamboozled by sugary or unhealthy choices:
• Stick to fruits and pair them with a healthy fat like yogurt, nut butters, nuts or coconut oil
• Make your own popsicles or ice cream
• Make your own lemonade or iced tea (or iced fruity tea)
• Increase your veggies and fruits so you are getting more water through the foods you are eating
• Make your own açaí bowls
• Enjoy a smoothie of all fruits or fruit and veggies
• Make some chia seed pudding to keep in the fridge
• Make overnight oats
Remember, these are simply suggestions – do your best to create a balanced diet and be mindful that not all fruits are created the same as some are higher in sugar than others.
Sugar is one of those ingredients that is addictive and can have a negative impact on your health so by being prepared and creating yummy and satisfying treats in advance, you'll be sure to steer clear from the store-bought cookies.
3. Improve your circulation and feel lighter through exercise
Exercise has many benefits – body, mind and soul – like boosting endorphins to help you feel happier, can help you manage weight loss, can increase energy levels, improve memory and can help you overcome insomnia.
According to Ayurvedic teachings, Spring to Summer is a great time to improve circulation, increase heat in the body and start to feel lighter through exercise. It's also a great time to push yourself with longer and more intense workouts.
If you are craving more movement, here are some types of exercise to try and enjoy during the warmer months and get moving:
• Jumping rope
• Lifting weights
You basically want to find something that will get your heart rate up and help you break a sweat, and most importantly, you want to get consistent – think exercising 3-5 days a week.
To help you stay motivated with exercise, pay attention to how good it makes you feel and get really clear on your goals behind working out. If you want to look amazing for an upcoming vacation than use that as motivation. If you want to stop feeling so sluggish and be that person who is full of energy then focus on that. Continuously remind yourself of your goal, take it one day at a time and go easy and be kind to yourself.
As the seasons change, so should we roll with the flow. We are all different and as long as you listen to your gut, and tune in to what your body is trying to tell you, you can achieve your goals no matter what time of year.
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1. Science Direct: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/B9780443069550000026
2. RECOChiropractic: http://www.recochiropractic.com/2016/05/hydration-key-spinal-health-wellness/
3. US National Library of Medicine: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2671201/