5 things healthy members do during summer
- Love mornings
Throw back the curtains at first light: "It reinforces your sleep-wake cycle, which gives you energy in the morning and helps to regulate your sleep," says sleep expert Dr Neil Stanley. Then, start on a high: "Begin the day with something positive, like a fun breakfast with your kids," says stress expert Professor Sir Cary Cooper. "You’ll be better equipped to deal with the day’s stresses."
- Boost your bones with sunshine
Vitamin D, which we mostly get from the sun, helps our body to absorb calcium – vital for bone health. So step outside and take in some rays during your lunch break. "Most of us can get our vitamin D needs with just 10-15 minutes of sun exposure, without sunscreen, a few times a week – this is typically less than the time that leads to sunburn," says GP Dr Naomi Potter.
- Max out on nutrients
Steam seasonal veggies rather than boiling them. "Some vitamins leach into water, so steaming helps to retain the nutrient content of vegetables," says nutritionist Fiona Hunter. Better still, grate raw veg into salads. Add herbs to everything, too. "They add flavour and health benefits for zero SmartPoints," says Fiona. Try peppery mint and antioxidant-packed thyme and parsley.
- Take a warm-weather stroll
Studies suggest blood pressure is lower in summer because we are more active, which also helps weight loss. Enjoy the milder evenings by taking a regular pre-dinner walk – a 10-minute stroll three times a week could help to lower your pressure reading. If you’re away, try your walk on the beach or in the countryside – soft surfaces, such as sand and grass, mean your muscles have to work harder, toning you up faster.
- De-tech your downtime
If you can bear it, taking an occasional break from your smartphone could help reduce anxiety and stress. Instead, use your holiday headspace to think about the new healthy tweaks you’re planning to make in your life. "Holidays are perfect for giving you the time and perspective to think about what changes you need to make – and how you can put them into action when you get home," says Professor Cooper. Think of it as trying to make your screen time as well balanced as your eating habits.