JULY HEALTH TIPS

Stay Fit on the 4th

Many Independence Day celebrations revolve around overindulging and being sedentary. This year, take the lead on gathering a group to enjoy a recreational form of physical activity, like a volleyball, basketball or softball game, or a group bike ride. One recent study found that if you perceive exercise to be fun, you’ll be less likely to compensate by eating more, or rewarding yourself with extra “I earned it” treats. Challenge yourself to make this whole month all about finding enjoyable ways to move more!

Enjoy Fresh Produce with any Meal

Use your veggie bounty to whip up some chilled veggie side dishes. Chop or shred your favorite veggies, like cucumbers, zucchini, grape tomatoes, red onion, and bell peppers, toss with a simple vinaigrette made from extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, minced garlic, and chopped fresh basil leaves, and marinate in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. To turn the dish into a complete meal, add a small scoop of a cooked, chilled whole grain, such as quinoa or wild rice, and a half cup of a cooked, chilled lean protein, like lentils, chickpeas, chicken, or salmon.

Do Something Good for the Community

Doing something good for others can also help you health wise. Sign up to walk or run a race that raises money for a great cause. Or, organize a group to do something active that simultaneously helps your community, such as picking up litter, starting a community garden, or helping to build, clean, or paint a residence for a family in need. Research shows that people who are emotionally and behaviorally compassionate lead healthier, happier, longer lives!

Finish Out the Summer Strong

Incorporate some form of strength training into your regular fitness routine. Strength exercises can be done with free weights (dumbbells or barbells), stretchy bands or resistance balls, or your own body weight (push ups, crunches, etc.). In addition to strengthening muscles, this important piece of the fitness puzzle can lead to many health benefits, including: better blood sugar regulation; a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes; bone density improvements; a greater daily calorie burn; and the prevention of weight gain. To make it social, recruit a buddy, and get buff together.