It’s finally warming up around here and the sun is shining. It’s the perfect time to hit the beach or play any one of many summer sports.
But what if the long harsh winter has taken its toll? You’ve gotten out of shape and you want to know how to get your body back.
Heidi Gooding, a personal trainer at Reality Fitness in Green Bay, recommends consistency first and foremost.
“The key to staying healthy or improving your fitness this summer is consistency,” says Gooding. “You get what you put in, and if you want consistent results, you have to give a consistent effort.”
Sometimes this means doing things we’ve never done before. According to Gooding, “If you want to stay healthy, or get fit, you need to keep upping your game. You want to get out of your comfort zone and push yourself.”
A lot of people find it hard to do this on their own. Some people benefit from hiring a personal trainer, or getting a workout buddy to hold them accountable.
All this is great advice for getting in shape for the pool party, but what about the food that’s served at the pool party? Summer is a time for outdoor fun, but it’s also full of picnics and barbecues where the temptation to indulge can get pretty strong.
“Humans are wired to want instant gratification,” says Gooding. “It is all too easy to skip a workout or eat food we know we shouldn’t because it will make us happy in that moment.”
Gooding emphasizes the importance of delayed gratification. “When you are faced with those decisions, ask yourself how your choice will make you feel in an hour. A moment passes quickly, but when that moment passes, will you still feel happy?”
Another way to think ahead is by loading up on healthy food for the days to come. Gooding says, “If you stock your fridge with healthy food, you will eat healthy food.”
When focusing on our health, it’s important not to overlook mental health. Although depression tends to run high in winter, summer has its own concerns.
According to Tara Robertson, a clinical psychologist at Bellin Psychiatric Center, in Green Bay, “The most prevalent concern that we see in summer is mania, a symptom of bi-polar disorder. Patients tend to become more energized as the weather improves and this can lead to increases in mania and suicide. Some patients are too depressed to act on their suicidal thoughts during the winter.”
Fortunately, the advice for maintaining physical and mental health are virtually identical. Robertson says it’s important to “Exercise, keep a daily routine, force yourself to interact with others and reach out for professional help if you are struggling.”
It turns out that not only can a healthy diet keep you slim and energized, it can also ward off depression. “Improved digestion through a healthier diet is thought to decrease inflammation in the body,” says Robertson. “Inflammation has been more recently linked to depression.”
This article was published in the June 2015 issue of Women Magazine.