Thursday, May 27, 2010

A Big Brother's Guide to Summer

Boualem's Fit 'N Healthy Times, June 2010

It's hard to imagine a summer without one. The cut foot on beach grass, sprained ankle, a bad sunburn, heat exhaustion...

Let's face it. Even the most sensible adult can forget to play it safe in summer. Maybe it's all the sun, the heat or the frozen drinks that flip the switch from on guard to on vacation. I don't know, but it sure can ruin a good time.

Today, we're focusing on the many ways you can have an adventure-filled, easy weight-loss and injury-free season! Who wants a lumbar injury when you know you're going out wind surfing adventure the next day. And if you didn't know, Muskegon is a great place to learn how to kite surf!

1.) Limit the alcohol.

I know! I'm such a party pooper, but not only is alcohol a waste of unnecessary calories, money, et cetera, it's a great way to dehydrate your system. And most people run around half way dehydrated in the summer without the alcohol. Enjoy alcohol like you'd enjoy a rich dessert, in very small portions on rare occasions.

2.) Be careful with caffeine.

Coffee is touted as healthy and great for the mind and your workout. But most people consume too much and therefore reap more disadvantages than advantages. If you indulge in caffeine drink extra water and don't over do it. Just like alcohol, it's a diuretic and too often it replaces liquids that hydrate.

3.) Lay off the salty snacks & lay on the H2O!

Between the parties and the beach or pool trips there is a bounty of salty snacks and foods, and all while we're sweating and being active. Choose unsalted nuts and other low sodium snack options. I can't say enough about the importance of staying hydrated in summer. You'll feel better, look better and function better.

4.) Beware of posture.

There is proper form for everything. Whether you're out in the garden, playing by the lake or working out in the basement, make sure you're not setting yourself up for unnecesary injury.

WEIGHT LIFTING TIP!!! In most exercises, the chest should be open, shoulders back, abdominals in and equal weight distribution through the feet. Never round your back--unless you're doing abdominal work.

GARDEN & CHORE TIP!!! Always lift with your legs--get in the squatting position when lifting heavy items and don't lift something you know you need help with. Have patience and get some help.

5.) Check your shoes.

Keep your feet, ankles, knees and back healthy by wearing the proper shoes and replacing worn shoes.

What is proper?

For hiking and many group aerobic classes, you'll want something that will provide some ankle support. If you have an arch--take care of the arch and buy shoes that provide that sort of support. Also, despite the appearance of your shoes, replace running shoes frequently. They may look in perfectly good shape, but if suddenly your knees, heels, feet or back is hurting, invest in new ones.

6.) Women--wear the right bra!

Some women don't have to worry too much, but large-breasted women should make sure they're providing their chest with as much support as possible. This protects the precious back from unnecessary strain.

7.) Watch the weather when playing outdoors!

I'm going to sound like a parent here, but remember, don't go swimming, running or hiking when it's lightening... Your workout can wait--really! Oh, and in case you forget, never seek shelter under a tall tree. (Zap!)

Also, to prevent heat exhaustion, try to do your workout in the early morning or evening. AND NEVER try to sweat fat off by layering on the clothes. (You'll only dehydrate yourself and end up in the hospital.)

And finally... Wear sunscreen on sunny and cloudy days. A bad burn can ruin a whole vacation.

8.) Condition before trying barefoot running!

Barefoot running is all the rage and has its benefits, but please be cautious. Interested runners should never jump into barefoot running but slowly ease into it. Condition your naked feet with pre-running exercises, and start an interval running program before the 30-minute goal. And! Watch where you're going. There's debris everywhere--even on soft, sandy beaches.

9.) Know your trails!

The general rule is to walk a non-paved trail before running it. You'll know what to expect--unruly roots, rocks and other menaces.

As for mountain biking, take all the proper precautions--whether you're a novice or a pro--tire inflation, bike helmet, plenty of water, a snack, first aid kits, etc.. Take it easy on new trails and pay attention to the level of difficulty on a trail.

10.) Wear a lifejacket!

For weekend water sports and leisure recreation, always be cautious.

11.) Know your limits!

It's easy to get excited about a new recreation that involves fitness, adventure and fun, but don't get buck wild. We're not invincible and freak accidents happen. Take all the proper precautions and rest when you feel tired and weak.

FITNESS TIP!!! No pain, no gain? Actual physical pain in one area of your body is a bad sign. You need to slow down or stop. The pain that they're talking about here is the pain of doing something that doesn't come easy. Get physically fit can be "painful," but it really shouldn't hurt!

12.) Don't stop fitness training!

Sure--you're more active in the summer! But I urge you to keep a fitness routine. Keeping your body flexible, strong and conditioned helps prevent injury. And, once fall comes, you won't have to jump back on the wagon. You're already on. Fitness is a lifestyle, not a season.


Despite the cool new moves in the most current body building books and magazines, there are some things that don't change. I'll let you in on the basics of bodybuilding, month by month. If you want to transform your body into a calorie-burning, sculpted machine, pay attention.

This month's spotlight? THE BACK!

Women are all about leg and abdominal work and men are all about arms and chest, but the back contains all the muscles that connect and basically carry all the other muscles. Don't neglect the back! It can help you climb trees if you'd like or more practically, it will help your posture!

The 3 basic movements for the back muscles--working the trapezius, latissimus, teres and rhomboid muscles: Assisted or Unassisted Chin-Ups with Wide Overhand Grip, Lat Pull-Down, One-Armed Dumbbell Rows


I urge you to take advantage of the summer season and get more active. Take more walks, bike rides and swims--for fun! (And you probably don't have to go far.)

Eat more fruits and vegetables and stay away from the fried, the mayo-d and the whipped creamed. Summer garden & orchard foods are delicious and guilt-free. Be wary of the potluck temptations and barbecues. Choose naked foods and enjoy simple meals. You'll feel less heavy and less hot.

I hear it frequently. I lose weight in summer without even trying! Let summer do it's natural magic for you too.


Fruit is perfect by itself by sometimes it's fun to dress them up!
Here are some lighter ideas...

Create a honey and lime sauce for melons! Simply toss chunks of honeydew and cantaloupe with fresh lime juice and a tablespoon or two of honey.

Choose grapes, plums or peaches to be topped with a light and luscious ginger cream. Cut up the fruit of choice and lightly dab on a spoonful of light sour cream and chipped crystallized ginger.

Grill those fruits. Consider fruit shish kabobs. Place on skewers and turn gradually so the fruits are cooked and the natural sugar carmelizes.