Getting ready for the sweatiest season of all is more than just eating right and working out, it’s about taking care of your overall health and protecting yourself from the sun’s harmful rays. But — it’s also about looking good. There is no better motivation than knowing you’re going to be half-naked in public to make you want to get into some good habits now, so that by the time summer rolls around, you’ve got everything on lock. Here are 6 great habits to get into to prep for your best body and self for the summer.
1. Get moving
While choosing to put yourself on a training regimen is a great way to approach wanting to get into shape within a certain time frame, if you’re looking to shape up more slowly, get into the habit of moving every day. The Greatist notes that sneaking any sort of cardio into your everyday life can not only improve your health and fitness, but it’s “sometimes on par with the benefits of a scheduled sweat session.” While an intense workout session is good for you, the more you get moving, the more you’ll reap the long-term benefits — such as a decreased risk for heart disease, obesity, and diabetes, except it will be for the summer and beyond.
It can be difficult after a long sedentary winter to re-adjust yourself to the great outdoors after being cooped up and cold for so many months. So get back into the gym when you can, walk instead of taking the bus or train for shorter distances, take the stairs when possible, and get out from behind your desk during your lunch break. Choose simple, small activities to get you going again. Also consider getting involved in outdoor recreational activities that are not only fun and competitive, but you won’t even realize you’re getting a fantastic workout.
2. Choose the healthier version
It’s difficult to adjust your diet completely and right away. Setting yourself on a strict diet is almost a surefire setup for failure. Instead, if you haven’t been eating healthy lately, why not simply choose healthier options of the food you’re used to eating in order to trick your body into eating less calories and fat. You could even remove extra condiments or add-ons that also add extra calories. For example, instead of opting for a cheeseburger, why not go for a veggie or tofu burger with low-fat or soy cheese. Sure it can feel like a little bit of a stretch taste-wise, but your summer beach body will thank you. If you feel that you’re not fully up for that, try simply opting for no cheese, sans condiments.
Additionally, start to be aware if the foods you eat are making you bloat. There are few things that are as uncomfortable as flocking on the beach with any kind of gassiness or abdominal discomfort when you’re trying to reveal those abs you’ve worked so hard for. WebMD recommends against overeating, eating too many fatty foods, steering clear of carbonated beverages, and avoiding bloat/gas inducing foods like beans and lentils, and veggies like cauliflower and Brussels sprouts which are harder to digest because they contain starches and sugars that cause unappealing bloating and gassiness.
3. Get enough sleep
You’ve been told countless times to get enough sleep (and you’re not listening). The National Sleep Foundation recommends adults between the ages of 26 to 64 get an average of 7 to 9 hours each night. Not only is a good night’s sleep essential to daily function all-year-round, but it’s actually a secret weapon for fat loss. When we get enough good quality sleep, it feels easier to make better food choices, snack less, and avoid excess calories. Sleep actually helps balance out the hormones that govern hunger, food cravings, and even how much we move during the day. Start developing a good sleep routine now — not only for the aforementioned benefits to help your summer body along, but because it’s good for you.
We cannot stress the importance of getting into daily sunscreen habits, no matter the time of year, but especially during the summer when the sun’s rays are extra harmful. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, one out of every five Americans will get skin cancer at some point in their lives. About 90% of the time, the risk of developing it is directly related to the amount and intensity of ultraviolet light exposure you receive from the sun. In addition to cancer, exposure to the sun, especially during the summer months can also cause your skin to age, creating a leathery texture and plenty of unwanted wrinkles.
To get the best protection from the sun when you’re at the beach, the American Academy of Dermatology recommends an SPF of 30 or higher, one that is labeled as “broad-spectrum protection (protects against UVA and UVB rays),” and water resistant. In the meantime, make sure you start wearing a moisturizer with SPF protection like Kiehl’s Facial Fuel UV Guard SPF 50.
5. Slather on the moisturizer all over your body
The lovely dry winter air has likely done a number on your skin. You’ve probably taken good care of your face, but have probably neglected the rest of your body. If you’re planning on showing some skin this spring by embracing the ripped jeans trend, make sure you moisturize your knees and also everywhere else. If you have dry knees (which you likely do if you haven’t been moisturizing all winter), we suggest using Eucerin Professional Repair Extremely Dry Skin Lotion. Start quenching your skin’s thirst now.
6. Shaving correctly
By shaving correctly, we mean shaving your body hair properly if you manscape. It’s incredibly frustrating if you have back hair or hair in other hard to reach places that you want to get rid of and you don’t have the proper tools to help. Go ahead and acquaint yourself now with the ManGroomer, which is a shaving contraption with an extended hand grip to reach all the hard-to-reach hair on your body easily. Start practicing now so that by summer, you’re an expert in shaving off your unwanted body hair.