With many of us escaping the city on the weekends for the tranquillity of cottage country, the phrase TGIF gains a new meaning. While I’m certainly not one to pass up an afternoon of lounging on the dock or a trip to the local ice cream shop, it’s always a good idea to sneak in some physical activity and make some healthy choices when you can. After all, we hope to spend most of the day in our bathing suits–weather permitting.
If you’re lucky enough to have access to a sandy beach, why not warm up those competitive muscles and play a game of beach volleyball or badminton? This is a great way to get your heart pumping and your body moving without setting foot in a crowded gym. You can enjoy the weather and build up a nice tan while you’re at it. Plus, you’ll feel like you earned that double-scoop-on-a-waffle-cone you will no doubt end up eating.
Nothing feels better than a refreshing swim on a hot day. But don’t just doggy paddle near the shore; take advantage of the exercise opportunities at your fingertips. Swimming is one of the best forms of low-impact cardio and muscle-toning exercise. Try out different strokes and challenge yourself to swim at your highest intensity. Think you’ll get bored swimming by yourself? Race against your friends or family! You’d be surprised at how quickly you can sneak in a great workout in the water, and best of all, it doesn’t require any fancy equipment. For the girls out there, check out Brio, on Bank St. in the Glebe and on Richmond Rd. in Westboro, to find a flattering swimsuit you can move in.
I don’t think any of us should have to sacrifice a decadent s’more (or two) around the campfire in the name of health. It’s the weekend–we deserve to splurge every once in a while! However, we can make healthy choices in other ways without giving up our favourite overindulgences. Stock up on fresh fruit to have for breakfast and snacks throughout the day, keep sliced veggies with dip and nutritious granola bars on hand for when hunger hits and alongside those barbequed burgers and hot dogs, throw some veggie skewers on the grill. Check out the Ottawa Farmer’s Market for an abundance of fresh and local options. Healthy eating at the cottage is completely achievable; aim to strike a balance between nutritious substitutions and your all-time favourite summertime treats.
Nothing can ruin a vacation faster than a bad sunburn. We’ve all been there. The sun is shining and we start to feel that familiar prickle on our skin but figure it’s just too nice out to move. Before you know it, you’re a shade of lobster-red and slathering on aloe cream like there’s no tomorrow. If there is one choice to make for your overall health next time you’re up at the cottage, make it to apply sunscreen rigorously! I would recommend a SPF of 45 or higher, and make sure to reapply often. It is extremely important to protect our skin from the harmful rays of the sun, not only to prevent cosmetic damage such as premature wrinkles, but also to prevent skin cancer from developing. Luckily, those greasy and chalky sunscreen formulas are a thing of the past. There are an array of sunscreen options to choose from that apply weightlessly but provide strong sun protection.
Make some healthy choices on your next escape to cottage country–you’ll be glad you did. Have fun!