We finally made it through arguably one of the most difficult winters we have ever faced in our lifetimes, which included the usual difficulties of cold weather and poor road conditions, compounded with COVID-19 and the related restrictions and lockdowns.

While the pandemic may still be ongoing, the warm weather is affording us the chance to break out of our routines (and houses) and use this time of year to shift into a healthier lifestyle, filled with nourishing foods and outdoor activities.

One thing this pandemic has taught us is that we need to grab onto every chance we get to create a fun-filled, happy, healthy life, and we plan on doing exactly that! With some areas still locked down, we can expect that our summer months won’t be fully back to normal with the in-person events and gathering we were once able to do, but there are still many other ways to get the most out of life right now and improve your health while you’re at it.

We’ve put together some habits and activities we encourage you to add to your routine, in order to embrace summer and improve your health, while still following COVID-19 protocols.

  • Outdoor walking/biking: forget the treadmill and enjoy some scenery during your exercise! Fresh air during a workout has been shown to provide several benefits, including improved mental health, feelings of revitalization, and a sense of the workout being easier and more enjoyable.
  • Water with lemon and sea salt in the morning: the warmer weather may leave you more prone to dehydration and loss of electrolytes, so start each day with a glass of water with a squeeze of lemon (when you have access to them), and a pinch of sea salt.
  • Eat fresh, local, seasonal produce: in-season and local produce is nutrient dense, providing health benefits while also being at peak-deliciousness!
  • Spend a little time in the sun: a little sun exposure goes a long way, as it’s the best way to get Vitamin D, a hormone that your body actually makes on its own from exposing your skin to sunlight! 20-30 minutes of sunlight in the morning or late afternoon is enough to produce sufficient immune-boosting vitamin D and improve your mood.
  • Find local parks & trails to explore: Ontario provincial parks and trails are offering free admission for the 2021 season, leaving you with endless opportunities for exploring! Whether you want to hike, bike, or rent a kayak when available, you can get into nature and into shape at the same time.
  • Embrace the yard work as your exercise: Have to do some gardening or raking? Perfect! You’ll be productive while also getting active! Just that simple mindset shift about what you “have” to do vs what you “get” to do can make all the difference in your motivation.
  • Reset your circadian rhythm by getting outside in morning and evening : the longer days mean more chances to get outside in the morning and evening, which is a great way to help with your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle. Studies have shown that exposing your eyes to daylight during the early morning and evening (dawn & dusk) can help your body fall asleep and stay asleep easier at night, and help you wake up more easily in the morning.
  • Enjoy the cooler mornings and evenings: if you’re not one for the heat, the sun being out earlier in the mornings provides a great chance to get outside and enjoy the cooler temps while also benefitting from fresh air. It can even drastically improve your mood for the rest of the day!
  • Eat breakfast daily: You may be wondering how this is summer-related, but with fresh fruit widely available and brighter mornings, you may find it easier to get into the routine of eating a healthy breakfast if you don’t normally do so. It’s a great time of year to get into the habit, even if it’s just some berries and Greek yogurt!
  • Rest, nap, enjoy the laid-back vacation vibe of the summer months: Had enough of the activity and hustle? Rest is one of the most important areas of your health, so kick back and soak up some well-deserved R&R! Whether it’s an afternoon nap in a hammock or an hour outside with your coffee in the morning, listening to the birds chirp, you’ll feel refuelled for your next day of work, exercise, or whatever life has in store for you!
  • Withdraw from the TV & media a little: After the past year and a half, it’s safe to say we’ve all had our share of the news and media. Remember, you don’t need to be checking the news or your phone every hour to stay informed. A quick 5 or 10 minute browse in the morning or evening will tell you everything you need to know. The rest of your day should be spend living, not consuming stress-inducing content.

This list may not seem like the most ground-breaking compilation, but that’s the point! Sometimes we just need the reminder to take advantage of the simple, and often free, health-promoting activities we have available to us this time of year.  Summer is upon us and while life still may not be back to normal, we plan on making the best of it!