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Summer health pitfalls

By
WebMD Feature
Medically Reviewed by Dr Rob Hicks

Summer tends to bring a holiday mood, with normal routines flying out of the window.

However, it can bring with it some bad habits. But these summer health pitfalls are easy to avoid and turn into positives.

1. Changing what you eat

When the weather's nice you're in a more relaxed frame of mind and this can affect eating habits. Especially if you have kids, and they are off school, you are more likely to agree to pizza and other fast foods as you are not in your usual routine.

Also in the summer, there's a tendency to eat more treat foods like ice creams and sweets, especially if you have children around you 24/7.

Healthy habit:

Instead of indulging in ready meals and takeaways, take advantage of the healthy seasonal summer food that's on offer.

In fact, in the summer it can be easier to eat healthily as this time of the year lends itself to lighter foods. Sweet strawberries, juicy tomatoes, crisp salads all taste better in the summer. Fire up the BBQ for a perfect way of cooking chicken, fish or meat without creamy sauces and lots of oil.

2. Give up the diet

The flesh goes on show in summer so you may well have been trying to shift any winter weight before baring your body. If you haven't actually managed to attain that swimsuit perfection, there's a temptation to give up totally, have the summer off and try again next spring!

Healthy habit:

Don't undo any hard work you've already done. Stick with the healthy eating and enjoy the fresh flavours. By all means have a few treats, but think of what you eat as less of a diet and more of a healthier way of life. Then you won't feel denied of any food and be miserable.

3. Not exercising

You may have a routine that incorporates exercise, perhaps going to the gym in your lunch hour or having a run with friends when the kids are at school. The summer can scupper these plans. Gyms and exercise classes are noticeably emptier in the summer as people take time off work, or are at home looking after children, or they just prefer to relax outside with a glass of wine than sweat it out at the gym.

It's true with children too. When they're at school they will have structured physical exercise as part of their week. So when they're off for the long school break they can just slob out, play video games and not get enough exercise themselves, returning to school in the autumn having put on weight after 6 weeks of indulgence and inactivity. A survey by the YMCA found that kids' healthy habits decline during the summer months. It found screen time goes up by 30% compared to during the school year, and only half of the kids get 60 minutes a day physical activity.

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