Schools out, and after a grueling 15 weeks of class, papers and exams, everyone is excited to get home, head to the beach and chill out. Even though we’re on break, people will still have a busy summer filled with cool internships, classes and jobs. Some of us may want to spend the entire summer sleeping or on the couch watching TV, but it’s important to live a healthy lifestyle, and there’s no better time to start than during the summer.
Once the semester comes to an end, throw away the Ramen noodles, the family size bag of chips and the gallons of coffee that are the cornerstone of every college student’s finals week, and get outside. Summertime is all about enjoying the fantastic weather, so here are a few tips to get you started on your new summer life.
1. Fresh fruit
Berries, such as strawberries, blackberries and blueberries are freshest in the summer. They’re picked when they’re perfectly ripe so you don’t have to worry about biting into that sour blueberry like you do in the winter.
Watermelon, cantaloupe and honeydew are also best in the summer, which is when they are juiciest. Melons are a great mid-day snack as well as a thirst quencher. Other fruit to look out for are peaches, plums and nectarines. They’re so sweet and a great low calorie substitute for dessert. Just make sure to buy ones that are a little bit soft or you’ll have to wait a few days to eat them.
Try making some fun summer desserts like parfaits and smoothies. For more dessert ideas, head to http://www.goodhousekeeping.com/recipes/desserts/fruit-dessert-recipes.
Despite the major focus on summer fruits, many veggies are also more flavorful in the summer. Corn, zucchini and squash can be roasted an eaten on skewers or added into a sandwich or salad for the perfect crunch. Although they’re technically a fruit, tomatoes are also in season in the summer and can be extra juicy as a snack by themselves or an ingredient in your pasta, salad or sandwich.
Not only are these foods extra flavorful in the summer, but they’re also more readily available. Most towns have weekly or monthly farmer’s markets where fruits and veggies are being sold right after they’re picked so you’re sure to get the freshest ingredients.
“I go to the farmer’s market with my dad all the time,” says Natalie Teboul, a sophomore majoring in human development. “I love the free samples and the aroma of fresh fruit and always end up spending way too much money because it’s all so good.”
1. Get in some cardio
One thing you can do is take a run down the beach. Running closer to the water puts less strain on your muscles because the sand is more compact. But keep in mind, the deeper the sand, the more challenging the workout. If you’re planning to spend a day at the beach, leave a little earlier, preferably with a friend who can motivate you, and run before you lay out.
Not only do you get a calf workout that few other exercise plans can compete with, but you also have the cool ocean to jump into afterwards.
2. Change the pace
One of the simplest ways to add more physical activity to your day is to use alternative methods of transportation rather than driving or taking the bus.
“I ride my bike pretty much anywhere I need to go over the summer,” says Carly Sadowsky, a sophomore majoring in human development. “It’s a fun and healthy alternative way to travel.”
If you don’t want to bike around your neighborhood, you could always go to a bike trail. For more information about bike trails in New York, head to http://www.trails.com/stateactivity.aspx?area=10103 or http://www.nycbikemaps.com/.
3. Take a hike
If you have dogs that like to go for walks, or you want to spend time catching up with a friend, hikes are a great way to incorporate some cardiovascular exercise and strength training. If you’re staying on campus or in Binghamton, the nature preserve is a convenient place to hike.
Some of the surrounding mountains such as Hunter Mountain also have hiking trails. Eisenhower Park in East Meadow, New York has paths that wind around the scenic park as well as athletic fields, batting cages and a swimming pool. For detailed information on hiking trails in New York, head to http://www.trails.com/stateactivity.aspx?area=10071.
Despite the busy summers that some of us have ahead, there are so many ways to incorporate healthy lifestyle choices into our everyday lives. The best part about summer is that there are so many activities to choose from when making plans with friends. And chances are if you suggest any of these fun outdoor activities, your friends will want to join you.