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Ah, summertime. Just thinking about the season brings to mind the scent of freshly cut grass, the cool taste of ice cream on a scorching day, and the sounds of crickets chirping as evening sets in. Who can resist its offer of warmer weather, longer days, and seemingly endless freedom?

Another promise the season offers? Better health! While some are looking to achieve the “bikini body” of their dreams, I want to talk about a more holistic approach to health that works perfectly with the summertime vibe. As many of us already know, good health is much more than your outward appearance. If you’re not treating yourself right, eating the proper nutrients, and getting enough rest, your well-being will suffer. Thankfully, summer is a great time to get a jumpstart on living a better lifestyle. Here are some tips to become a healthier version of yourself this season!

1. Get outside.
This is something a lot of people struggle with. I usually exercise indoors to stay cool and end up reading or watching TV inside to relax. But while the sun is shining, why not do something outside? Your body craves the Vitamin D it receives from the sun and nature soothes and quiets the mind. So whether you’re sitting by the pool or going for a hike, try to spend an hour or two enjoying the outdoors.

2. Take advantage of fresh produce.
Who doesn’t love strawberries with their breakfast or a great salad for lunch? The abundant fruits and vegetables sold this this time of year contain large amounts of vitamins and antioxidants. Although frozen produce can provide the same benefits, it’s nice to take advantage of the freshest veggies you can get your hands on.

3. Check out local farmers markets.
The best places to get fresh produce. Nashville offers so many opportunities to purchase top quality ingredients and support local farmers throughout the summer. Make it a fun outing and bring your kids, your dog, or a friend! Here are just a few places to go:

East Nashville Farmers Market (Wednesdays 3:30pm-7pm)

Franklin Farmers Market (Saturdays, 8am-1pm)

Nashville Farmers Market (Daily, 8am-6pm)

4. Wear sunscreen.
With all the time you’ll (hopefully) be spending outside, it’s important to protect your skin. Even if you’re going out for just a half hour, sun damage can occur even though you may not see it. If you are using acne or ant-aging products, which thin the skin, you are even more prone to damage. Nobody wants a sunburn, skin cancer, or wrinkles, be sure to put on at least SPF 30 before heading outside.

5. Take time for yourself.
Even if you’re busy working, summer usually provides a little more downtime than other seasons. Take this opportunity to work on something just for yourself, whether that means reading more, learning to cook, spending more time with family, exercising… anything works! For complete health, it’s crucial to make sure you’re nourishing your body, mind, and spirit.