True health and wellness can’t be achieved with a month of pounding it out at the gym after the new year or a three-month crash diet before swimsuit season. Genuine wellness must be a life-long journey, one that is woven into the fabric of our busy lives, along with patience, determination, commitment, and grace—lots of grace. The last couple of years, especially since the pandemic, many people have noticed an increased desire to take care of themselves as whole beings; we want to tend to our mental, emotional, and physical selves. But it can be daunting to know where to begin, especially during the summer—a time when our schedules often relax with the season and our self care pays the price. Summer, however, is the perfect time to construct a wellness routine, and this is how we can do it:
It’s summer in Cincinnati—we have sun and warmth! (And humidity. Lots of humidity.) Take advantage of the weather, especially in the mornings before the heat kicks in. The best way to start? Take a walk! Our bodies want steps—our bodies need steps! Walking is often an overlooked and undervalued part of our fitness, but the immense benefits of walking include improved heart and metabolic health, increased bone and joint function, stronger muscle and cognitive recovery, and improved biometrics overall. While it isn’t an intense form of exercise, if you can get outside for a walk every day, you will soon notice countless health benefits.
If walking isn’t your thing, try something else! Take advantage of one of the city’s many community pools, join a sand volleyball league, or get down to Sawyer Point for some pickleball! Be sure to take proper heat precautions—drink lots of water, wear loose clothing, use sunscreen, and get plenty of rest. But once you are out, take advantage of all the city has to offer. Grab some friends, play some games, and go for some walks! Just keep moving!
Use your calendar to make fitness a priority
Instead of succumbing to the chaos of summer, from kids’ sports to vacation plans to family barbecues, use your calendar to maintain a little bit of structure and track your priorities. One of the reasons that weekends tend to sabotage progress in the fitness world, particularly if one’s goals are focused towards body composition(fat loss/muscle gain), is that the lack of structure from Friday evening through Sunday is enough to stall or derail progress. Summer often feels like one three-month weekend, and the entire season can throw people off their routine. But when we practice consistency—in terms of our schedules and support systems—it is easier to make fitness a priority and keep improving during the summer. Use your calendar to block out times to exercise—schedule your workouts or hire a trainer to keep you accountable. Plan weekly walks with friends, or sign up for a sports league that has regular practices and games. Building these activities into your day ahead of time, and seeing them blocked off on your calendar, helps you maintain accountability to your fitness and improve your overall health.
Use your time efficiently
This one is self-explanatory—prioritize what moves the needle for your health. Do you want to build muscle? Increase cardiovascular strength? Alleviate chronic pain? Decide whether to add strength training, walking, extra cardiovascular exercise, or improved nutrition (or a combination of these things) based on your preferences and goals.
To improve your overall health and wellness, you don’t need to do nearly as much as you think you do. You don’t have to strain your body or risk injury from high intensity exercise. You don’t have to do what your friends are doing, or what Instagram has tried to sell you. Rather, focus your efforts on what moves you toward your goals and what you enjoy. A daily walk and 2–4 structured exercise bouts is plenty for most of us. The goal is to find the minimum effective dose.
Take advantage of the social side
Build—and then utilize!—a support system! Friends, family, partners, gyms, and community events are all great ways to keep you motivated and focused towards your wellness goals. No one is on the fitness journey alone, and when people journey with us, it is far more enjoyable. Support systems keep us going stronger for longer. If you are looking for an amazing community of wellness-conscious folks and a super fun gym, contact Trilogy at www.trilogyfitnesssystems.com.