Sunday Summer Shape-Up

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As summer arrives, we start to think a lot more about fitness. It must be the pull of the outdoors, the relaxed schedules and the smaller clothes. Regardless of what’s putting fitness on our radar, let’s take advantage of the increased motivation.

Well…summer is almost half over. {What?!}

So, how are you doing with your health & fitness?

If you’d like to do something to feel a little more fit, stronger and healthier this summer, here are some good suggestions:

Get some fresh air walks. Never underestimate the power of going for a walk! Even if you’re also doing regular workouts, the benefits of leisurely strolls are plenty. One of the biggest benefits is that it lowers our stress levels. Most physical activity imposes a certain amount of stress on our body, but casually walking actually reduces stress. Try to go for a 15 to 30-minute walk most days of the week.

Build some muscle. In addition to walking, set aside a couple times a week to strength train. Strength training is the most important type of physical activity. It offers the most bang for your buck! This does not need to be complicated and involved. You don’t even need weights to build strength. Try this quick routine that requires zero equipment and very little time:

Leg swings – 10x/direction/leg

Squats – 10x

Bent-over thoracic rotation – 10x/side

Inchworms – 5-10x

Tall plank w/ hip flexion – 10x/side

Bridges – 10x

Jumping jacks – 20x

Do this just one time through or up to 5 times through. Move slowly and carefully your first time through so that your body can warm-up. (You don’t need to do any other warm-up prior to this, in fact this can be treated as a warm-up for other workouts.)

Are you with me?   Do you want some more?!

If you’d like to do more than this, I have an entire month of workouts (for beginners!) laid out for you on my website. This sounds like such a shameless plug, but head on over to and sign up for my newsletter…that will gain you free access to an entire month of beginner strengthening workouts that include video demonstrations of everything.

Play! Don’t be a bump on a log this summer. Be purposeful about moving, especially in new and exciting ways. Go for a hike. Run on the beach. Ride bikes as a family. Sign up for a rec sport. Physical activity does not need to rigid workouts performed in a gym. Purposeful workouts are certainly important, but you will find so much more pleasure and inspiration when you treat your physical activity as play.

Eat healthier. Eating healthy is tricky in the summertime. There are more vacations, trips, events and get-togethers. The best way to navigate summertime eating is to look at your schedule and plan your splurges. If you know you will be having a weekend barbecue with friends, plan for that all week. Say no to unhealthy foods earlier in the week knowing that you will be able to splurge guilt-free on the weekend. If you’re going on vacation, choose one thing to splurge on each day (it is vacation after-all!).

This will allow you to feel like you’re in vacation-mode without regretting anything.

Choose one thing and master it. Do you have one nutritional habit that has been nagging at you?  Perhaps you’ve been feeling like you need to drink more water? Maybe you feel like sweets are overpowering you. Do you need to eat more vegetables? Choose one nutritional habit and focus on just that one thing for a full two weeks. By making one change at a time, and mastering it, these changes will really stick. Summer is the perfect time to master nutritional changes.

Let’s take advantage of this summer. We all know it’s going to fly by, but let’s implement some little strategies like these to feel healthier and stronger by the time fall rolls around. You’d be surprised what these little changes can do!!

megan_dMegan Dahlman is a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist, Certified Precision Nutrition Coach, and mother of two little boys. She coaches women of all ages toward becoming healthy and fit. She just launched , a website fully catered toward moms who are looking for a more heavenly perspective in health and fitness. It is loaded with workout and nutrition guidance, helping moms become truly healthy and strong, not just sexy. Megan lives in Aurora with her husband, two boys, horse, dog and chickens. You can follow her on Facebook @strongmommas and Instagram @strong_mommas.

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