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Long Weekend Gratitude

In the midst of a pandemic, it’s easy to complain and to use the circumstances as an excuse for not exercising.  There are so many reasons to feel stress right now, but at North Star Fitness, we encourage our members to establish a self-care routine that includes movement, nutritious foods, and gratitude.  In recent years, there has been a fair amount of research done on the benefits of gratitude. 

Various studies have explored the benefits of feeling gratitude on a regular basis. 

There appear to be correlations between gratitude and quality of sleep, reduced stress, enhanced mental health, and increased overall physical wellbeing.  Summer offers up all kinds of unique health benefits for which we can be thankful.  Here are a few ways you can use these last few weeks of summer to revitalize your mind and body.

Sunshine. 

Unfortunately, we only have a few months of adequate sunshine in the Canadian Prairies, so take advantage when you can.  During the winter, Vitamin D levels plummet, leaving our immune systems vulnerable to illness and inflammation.  Spending half an hour a day relaxing in the sun with arms and legs exposed is a fun way to top off Vitamin D levels.  You’ll want to get enough exposure to get a light tan, but be careful not to burn.  Sunscreens block our ability to make vitamin D and contain harmful chemicals, so hats and UV protective clothing are preferable if you need to be outside for an extended period of time.

Fresh Summer Eats.

  During the winter, we forget what real tomatoes taste like.  When we consistently eat foods that are ripened on trucks and planes and shipped in from halfway around the world, we start mistaking those from the supermarket for real foods.   Until summertime that is.  This is a great time to eat fresh greens and berries.  It’s fun and easy to grill up some local meats and seasonal veggies on the barbeque.  Take the time to create a simple meal made with fresh-picked produce, sit down and savour every bite with mindfulness and gratitude.  You’ll be surprised at how good local fresh food tastes.  

Playing Outside. 

Exercise doesn’t have to feel like work.  By the sprinkler, at the lake, or the playground, there are so many opportunities to get physically active outside.  The kids are on vacation, outdoor sport season is in full swing, what better time to get some physical activity in the form of play.  There is something special about playing, not worrying about the outcome or the goal, just losing yourself in play.  Find your inner child and get moving.  

Take a moment to stop and notice how lucky you are. 

To eat real food.  To get outside and move.  To have time to play.  Savour every moment of the summer.  Before you know it, we’ll be cursing the snow and eating cardboard tomatoes again.

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