Traditionally, spring is the time for cleaning, for cleansing the system, in preparation for a fun-time in summer.
Accordingly, spring is one of our busiest times of the year, as people flock to our wellness centre to detox after a long winter. Many people tend to put on a few kilos in winter as a result of eating more carbohydrates and staying indoors. Spring is also a time when fitness becomes a priority. With summer on the horizon most people want to get into shape before exposing their bodies on the beach. Hence, our fitness trainers are run off their feet in spring, and our gym is abuzz with people panicking with urgency to lose a few pounds. Well, spring is gone and summer is here, but even if we neglected to do the spring clean thing, it is not too late to get into shape for a successful summer season.
With a huge variety of outdoor activities available in summer it doesn’t take long to make up for a neglected spring. However, for some, December can be a time of year-end stresses, office parties and festive foods, with little time for exercise. Then January comes along and one fails to enjoy the holidays as one should because of a physically depleted state at the end of the year. Well, with the application of a few simple strategies, we can start our holidays in a state of optimal health and achieve maximum enjoyment. Then return to work refreshed and ready to take on the world for another year.
It may sound too simple, but many people suffer with sleep apnia, asthma, bronchitis and other breathing disorders. It is important to breathe through the nose (in and out) as much as possible, especially when sleeping. The nose is designed to filter, humidify and condition the air. It also regulates the flow of oxygen in, and carbon dioxide (CO2) out. Oxygen stresses smooth muscle tissue while CO2 relaxes it. Mouth breathing distorts the flow, causing CO2 levels to drop too quickly. Thus smooth muscle tissue is subjected to more stressing than relaxing, resulting in elevated blood pressure, muscle pains, respiratory complaints and other disorders. Many people tape their mouths at night to promote nose breathing during their sleep.
Sunlight reacts with cholesterol in the skin to produce vitamin D3, a potent hormone that is involved in just about every bodily function, including the metabolism of calcium and the maintenance of healthy bones. Summer is the time to build up reserves of this vital vitamin. Expose the skin to the sun for a minimum of 20 minutes each day, without getting burnt. Sunlight kills bacteria, hardens bones, increases serotonin – the mood regulator, increases glycogen which feeds muscles, regulates blood pressure, modulates cholesterol, lowers triglycerides, increases blood volume, improves respiration, boosts the immune system and modulates blood sugars.
By all means go to the parties, but exercise self-control. Alcohol will deplete muscle integrity like nothing else. High carbohydrate, festive foods will put on the weight while reducing the capabilities of the immune system. Over-eating can also be a trap for the unwary. Self-control is the key!
Most of our repair and maintenance is performed at night, when we are asleep. In the absence of light our pineal gland secretes the hormone, melatonin, which is indeed one of the most potent antioxidants produced in the body. Studies performed by the Simmons Bed Company showed that melatonin secretions are far greater during pre-midnight sleep than they are during the hours after midnight, irrespective of what time one goes to bed. This may be why pre-midnight sleep has often been referred to a ‘beauty sleep’. Try a few early nights and feel the difference it makes.
The Earl of Darby once wrote, “Those who cannot find the time for exercise will have to find the time for illness.” Professional contact sports are usually played in the winter. Summer, however, is the season for sailing, swimming, surfing, diving, canoeing, cycling, cricket, tennis, horse riding, dancing, archery, basketball, beach volleyball, bushwalking, etc. Exercise energises the body, regulates the appetite, clears the mind, strengthens the heart and reduces joint stiffness. It replaces fat with muscle while decreasing the resting heart rate, blood pressure and blood lipids. Exercise increases respiration, circulation, muscle tone, elasticity and blood oxygen levels.
- Eating Right
Eating too many of the Christmas dainties can result in runny noses, sore throats and fatigue. The fun that should be experienced during the holiday season can be hampered through over-indulgence in the wrong foods. Adopt a successful eating strategy and stick to it, even at the parties. Avoid the processed carbohydrate foods.
We need to drink a lot more water in summer. Dehydration is a common condition experienced by those who neglect to drink water during the warmer months. The greatest need of the body on rising is hydration, so have a good glass of water first thing every morning. Then keep it up all through the day. It is best not to dilute digestion by drinking water with meals, but it is vital to top up regularly between meals. Thirst is not a reliable indicator, so include regular water drinking in your list of strategies for a healthy summer season.
Prevention is better than cure. By applying success strategies to your lifestyle this summer you will avoid illness, tiredness and disappointment. Make the most of the outdoors. Enjoy the national parks, the beaches and the rivers in the best state of Australia. Remember, life is a gift. Relish it!