9 Hacks to Make Your Summer Fitness Goals Your Reality

Whether you’re headed to a block party with neighbors, a beach day with family, or a picnic in the park with that special someone, there’s no doubt that food and fun are on your summer schedule. Some outings may include food you may be trying to avoid, and those sunny beach days may inspire you to be more leisurely than active. A few treats and a few leisurely days are surely well deserved though, right?

When it comes to staying on track with your food and fitness goals and enjoying your summer, it’s all about balance.

Here are some ideas to get you started:

Be food prepared.

If you’re headed to a summer party where you know you’ll be tempted or where there won’t be food that accommodates your diet, pack a grab-n-go. Protein bars from brands like NuGo Nutrition and Larabar are usually $1-$2 per bar, packed with plant-based nutrients, and accessible at stores nationwide and on Amazon. Sliced fresh fruit, granola bars, and nuts are other quick, easily portable options.

Pick up your pace.

Of course you’re ready to get your chair and towel positioned just right and relax on the sand. But take a lap by the water before you get settled to squeeze in a few more steps and burn a few more calories.

Make meals simple, quick, and fun.

You’ve got your neighbor’s BBQ at 3 and friends coming over to your place at 6, so you need something shareable and convenient, but impressive. Baste colorful kabobs of tomatoes, peppers, mushrooms, zucchini, and squash with olive oil and spices before roasting them in your oven (or whip out your grill!) for 10-12 minutes. Cut whole sweet potatoes in down the middle, place them in aluminum foil, and bake them for 40 minutes. When they’re done, add peanut butter and cinnamon to them, cut them into smaller pieces, and serve them with toothpicks. Or when time is super short, snag some hummus or salsa from your local farmers’ market or grocery store, serve it on a fun platter and call it a day!

Carry a reusable water bottle.

It can be tempting to pop open a fizzing can of Coke or hit the Starbucks drive-thru for your favorite frappuccino while riding around with the convertible down this summer, but don’t let the heat talk you into making to a decision packed with sugar and calories that you may regret later.

Find fun ways to use resistance bands.

You can do quick and simple exercises with them during long days in the office and during your activity packed weekends. If you’re traveling this summer, be sure to bring them along. They take up minimal space and can inspire you to keep moving even on vacation.

Bring the chill to your meals.

A hot kitchen can often be the least fun place on these scorching summer days. Give yourself a brrr-eak from cooking with meals that require little to no cooking and that are chockfull of nutrients and yumminess. You may find some of the meals here to be colorful and shareable enough to carry with you to summer parties. Bonus points: with cool meals, you won’t have to worry about reheating food you travel with.

Make time to disconnect.

It’s easy to get caught up in all things planned even during the summer. From work commitments to our pressing social calendar to our ever-present technology, it can be challenging to stop and unwind. Schedule time to do just that this summer – no matter how challenging that may seem. Write down an hour of mediation or reading in your calendar, turn your phone off for an afternoon, forward your calls to voicemail for a day, or turn your out of office reply on and go take a walk. Long-term health and fitness successes include consistently disconnecting and clearing your schedule so you can clear your mind

Get your family and friends moving with you.

Beating the heat in a nice cool movie theater may be a fun afternoon activity for you and your loved ones, but so may taking a hike in your local park or challenging neighbors or coworkers to a game of kickball. Find activities that your loved ones enjoy and that keep them active, and then keep them engaged consistently. Having fun and enjoying quality time together can help them see that being active can be fun and help you stay motivated to meet your health and fitness goals.

Enjoy early morning activities.

You may not be able to talk your night owl loved ones into games or hikes in the AM, but you can beat the heat and tell them about your fitness fun later. Grab your bike (or rent a bike if you’re in a metropolitan area) and hit the pavement for a few miles. Hit your local park and watch the animals wake up with the sun as you hike by. Find a local outdoor recreation center and try out some new moves like these.

 

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man and woman hiking with backpacks

5 Ways to Build Your Summer Body Confidence

The skies are clear and blue, the temperatures are on the rise, and outdoor activities are calling your name. There’s no doubt that summer has arrived, and it’s likely that you’re thinking about your fitness routine. Fitness and wellness guru Caroline Jordan has some advice for you: “There is no better time than right now to get started on some serious body love. I encourage you to practice your body love push-ups daily and build your body confidence strength.”

Let’s take a look at some ways you can make Jordan’s advice and your fitness goals your reality this summer:
  1. Hold yourself accountable.

Make a workout schedule and stick to it. Use an app, a fitness tracker, or even just a simple notebook to record your activity. Journal the accomplishments you make. Burn a high number of calories? Increase your speed or your weight load? Feel successful after trying a new exercise? Reflect on these experiences in your journal. Doing so can not only help you see how much you improve from week to week but it can also keep you motivated to do even more.

  1. Appreciate food as fuel.

Eating for comfort may lead you to eat too much, but seeing food as the enemy may cause you to deprive your body of the nutrients it needs. Question your relationship with food and why you make the decisions to eat what you do. Read about the science of nutrition and how different foods can do different things for your body. Do your body a favor by complementing your workout with the fuel it needs; don’t cancel out your efforts by treating yourself to foods that work against your goals.

  1. Try something new.

Is there a dance or fitness or yoga class you’ve always wanted to try? Is there a new sports league forming at your work? Have your friends or coworkers invited you out for a hike or a bike ride? Schedule it, sign up, and say yes! You could find something new that you enjoy and that you want to invest your time in. You could also give your body a chance to surprise you with its ability and strength. Who knows – it could even lead to a new project or a new connection in your professional life.

  1. Build confidence in yourself.

Wouldn’t it be nice if building confidence in yourself were as easy as hanging a motivational poster in your workspace or on your fridge and looking at it every day? Building that confidence and staying motivated to do more for yourself and for your fitness goals take time and concerted effort, but small steps can lead to a significant shift in how you see yourself. Tell yourself how proud you are of your accomplishments every day. If you’re new to fitness and you’ve just committed to climbing the stairs every day instead of taking the elevator, pat yourself on the back. If you’ve walked back into the gym this week or you’re back in the kitchen to do meal prep after a vacation full of treats and time off, give yourself some applause.

  1. Learn how to make your healthcare coverage work for your goals.

Explore your options when it comes to different types of coverage. In addition to major medical coverage, there are short-term medical plans and health benefit insurance plans (commonly known as limited medical coverage) that may help you meet your coverage needs and come with features that help you achieve your health and fitness goals. Check to see if the coverage you choose has the following:

  • Deductibles that meet your budget needs
  • Affordable doctor’s office visits so seeing your doctor is within your budget
  • Mental health coverage to provide resources, support, and/or benefits for you or your covered loved ones in need
  • Wellness initiatives to provide nutrition and/or fitness resources and/or programs
  • Telemedicine feature to provide you with video and/or phone access to doctors when you need it
  • Patient advocacy feature to help you navigate the healthcare system
Here are some features of several different types of coverage to help you decide what works best for you and your goals:

Short-Term Medical Coverage

  • Helpful if you (or a loved one) are facing life-altering transition periods such as pre-Medicare retirement, change in employment status, rolling off parental or student insurance, bridging a gap in major medical coverage or if you missed Open Enrollment (This coverage is designed solely to provide healthcare coverage during unexpected coverage gaps)
  • Flexibility in coverage length and cost (coverage duration varies by state and is non-renewable)
  • Variety of deductible and coinsurance options
  • Low copay options for in-network benefits
  • Limited preventive care available
  • Ability to cancel at any time without penalty (benefits may be limited and subject to exclusions and restrictions)
  • Does not cover pre-existing conditions
  • Coverage is not guaranteed
  • Not intended to be a replacement or alternative to ACA or other major medical plans and does not provide the minimum essential health benefits that are required; may result in a tax penalty.

Health Benefit Insurance Coverage 

  • Helpful if you (or a loved one) are anticipating rising medical expenses, are unable to afford major medical, are not eligible for short-term medical, and/or are looking for supplemental coverage to major medical plans
  • Guaranteed issue coverage if eligibility is met and available in state
  • Premiums often lower than major medical
  • Benefits such as $50-$100 paid toward doctor and specialist visits available
  • Not required to use a network of doctors – freedom to see any doctor or visit any facility of your choice (*Note: you may still exceed eligible benefit)
  • Preventive care available for as low as $50
  • Next day coverage available or little to no waiting periods for accidental injuries or sickness
  • 12 month waiting period for pre-existing conditions (limitations and exclusions may apply)
  • Not a replacement for major medical coverage
  • Does not count as minimum essential coverage required by the Affordable Care Act and is not suitable to serve as sole medical coverage

ACA Coverage

  • Helpful if you (or a loved one) are seeking major medical but may not be able to afford it, have a pre-existing condition, and/or need a broad array of health benefits
  • Option to change plan every year and to stay on policy as long as needed
  • Renews annually
  • Provides coverage for pre-existing conditions; you can’t be rejected based on health
  • Provides preventive care
  • Provides the option for subsidies to lower costs
  • Provides minimum essential health benefits
  • Must enroll during the Open Enrollment period, the Special Enrollment period, or when a qualifying life event occurs

Note: It is important to keep in mind that while short-term and health benefit insurance coverage can provide valuable benefits, neither one is intended to be a replacement nor an alternative to ACA or other major medical plans. These types of coverage do not provide the minimum essential health benefits that are required and will not help to avoid the fee for not carrying health insurance.

 

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