Warmer Weather Encourages Wellness
Summer Habits for Health All Year Long
Do you feel and behave differently in the summertime? Maybe you’re more motivated to move? Or maybe you experience less stress because your to-do list doesn’t seem as urgent as doing something fun with a friend?
For many, summertime encourages a range of healthy behaviors, including socializing, being in nature, moving more, and eating better — all of which are bolstered by this sunnier, slightly slowed down time of year when more of us make time to do things that are good for us.
Many of our summertime habits are like those of the people who live in the Blue Zones, five areas in the world with the largest number of centenarians — that’s people who live to be 100 years old or older. The longevity in these areas is attributed to specific lifestyle habits that these communities of people share.
Here, we look at some of the healthy lifestyle habits of the longest-lived people in the world. If you aren’t doing these already, hopefully this list will give you some motivation to adopt some new behaviors while the sun is out, the days are longer, and you can give yourself permission to slow down a bit and smell the flowers.
Moving naturally is the first of the Blue Zones lifestyle habits that the longest-lived people do that is easier for most of us in the summertime. Rather than “exercise” as we traditionally think of it, for example, going to the gym or running, people in the Blue Zones move regularly by taking part in everyday activities that require movement. This might be gardening, mowing the lawn, walking around the neighborhood, or sweeping the front steps.
Making movement a natural part of everyday, rather than a requirement, helps Blue Zones communities stay active without thinking much about it. When it’s warm outside, all of us are more likely to go for a walk, plant some vegetables, or play catch in the backyard so it’s easy to adopt this Blue Zones habit. The trick is finding ways to move naturally when the weather isn’t as accommodating, so that you can make the habit of moving more a permanent part of your life.
Making time for downtime is the next lifestyle habit that Blue Zones communities share that is easier for most of us during the summer months. Many of us take time off work and schools are closed, so it’s easier to slow down and let go of some of life’s stresses for a bit in the summer.
Research shows that stress can cause inflammation in the body which can contribute to many age-related diseases. In the Blue Zones, people have outlets for their stress — including praying, walking, and socializing with friends and family — so any stress they do feel is more manageable. During the summer, many of us are more likely to take part in stress-relieving activities, such as team sports, social gatherings, or naps in the shade. Whatever outlet you allow yourself during the summer, see if you can adapt it for year-round benefits.
Summer is one season when many people do more socializing. With warmer weather and more time off, it’s an ideal time to get together with friends, family, neighbors, faith-based groups, and others. People in the Blue Zones make socializing a regular part of each day and it’s thought to be one of the things that keeps them healthy. One of the reasons is that if you hang out with people who enjoy healthy behaviors, you’re more likely to adopt those behaviors too. Research demonstrates that strong social networks also improve physical and mental health by lowering the risk of certain diseases, reducing loneliness, and increasing happiness. Establish your core group of healthy-behavior friends this summer and make sure to meet up regularly throughout the year to extend the benefits all year long.
Love Your Loved Ones
Family is a central part of all Blue Zones communities. However you define “family,” summer is a perfect time to make more time for them. Research shows that taking care of the important people in our lives improves life expectancy and physical and mental health. So, this summer, make that family or friend’s get together a priority and be sure to schedule regular meet ups for benefits throughout the year.
Extend A Helping Hand
Summer is also a good time to help those in need — whether it’s within your local community or beyond. People in Blue Zones communities make helping others a normal part of their everyday lives and it has many benefits. It can give you a sense of strength, belonging, and profound meaning. You will notice the felt sense of joy in your body and heart when helping others. So, the next time your neighbor needs assistance with some gardening or your local food bank needs extra hands delivering meals to families in need, seize the opportunity to do something for others — as well as yourself — and make helping others a priority all year long.
Consult A Mind/Body Mentor
Your thoughts, attitudes, and behaviors play a role in your health. Understanding how your mind and body interact and influence each other can give you more success in reaching your health goals. Dr. Kristine Devillier is a mind/body mentor, board-certified naturopath, and master herbalist who provides tailor-made advice on techniques that help strengthen a harmonious connection between body and mind to maintain or improve health.
Dr. Devillier brings more than 20 years’ experience and a wealth of knowledge about natural health to each consultation — providing easy-to-follow advice on physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health. She creates custom-made plans that fit your life and enable you to achieve your goals.
If you’re ready to prioritize your health this summer or any time of year, call us on 337-332-2705 or reach us online to connect with one of our health experts. We proudly offer natural health consultations in Breaux Bridge, Lafayette, and the entire Acadiana area.