Transform into a healthier you this summer

Challenge yourself to a healthier lifestyle with personal commitment and the support of family, friends, co-workers or community challenges.

Warmer weather and longer days bring people outdoors more often and provides more opportunities for physical activity. Healthy food choices are plentiful in the summer months with all the fresh fruit and vegetables that are available in the grocery store, local farmer’s markets, pick-your-own farms or personal gardens. Start now to formulate healthier habits into your life and practice the three months of summer until they become a “healthy habit” by the time cooler weather comes around.

Research indicates that it takes six to eight weeks to formulate new habits or make a transformation, so why not choose a healthy habit to try while the weather is conducive? Maybe you want to incorporate or increase your daily physical activity or exercise, or want to include more fruits, vegetables or whole grains into your diet; maybe you want to drink more water. Choose at least one to three nutrition or physical activity goals to work on during the three months of summer.

Some communities are having challenges to help motivate physical activity and healthier living in conjunction with community development grants. One such challenge is entitled “Let’s Get Moving Community Challenge” sponsored by BlueCross BlueShield of Michigan. Challenges such as these can help one stay focused and enthusiastic about choosing a healthier lifestyle by gaining points for their community based on the number of healthy foods eaten or physical activity that was done in a certain day or week. The community that earned the most points receives the community grant. Some community grants help fund sidewalk repair and road crossing signs to develop safer routes to schools. Others fund walking and bicycle paths or trail systems to name a few.

The key to getting started is setting a goal, writing it down and placing it someplace where you can read it often – try the bathroom mirror or dashboard of your car. Instead of writing the goal like a to-do list write it as if you are already doing it. An example would be if your goal is to walk an hour daily, write “ I enjoy walking an hour every day” or “Walking is my therapy!”

The key is finding what will motivate you to make a healthier lifestyle transformation. Spend the summer working on this and seek support from family, friends, co-workers or a community challenge.

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