Spring Clean Your Way to Swimsuit Season

Woman Sunbathing On BeachSummer will be here before you know it. As the weather heats up, you’ll want to toss away your heavy clothing and start revealing some skin. While we all come in different shapes and sizes, a healthy, toned, clean body always looks fantastic. Follow these tips and you’ll love the way you look in a bikini.

1. Move your body

Everyone knows that exercising will help you lose weight and build muscle. Working up a sweat is also a great way to get rid of toxins, so you can have a flawless complexion.

You can work out at the gym or buy exercise equipment to use at home, but anything that gets you moving – even taking the stairs instead of the elevator – will help.

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2. Avoid fad diets

With bikini season coming, you’ll soon be bombarded with advice on how to lose weight quickly. If anyone suggests a fad diet, don’t pay attention. Whether it involves eating grapefruit for breakfast, lunch and dinner or drowning in cabbage soup, a fad diet won’t provide a healthy way to lose weight.

Fad diets deprive your body of essential nutrients, which will make you tired – so you won’t exercise – and hungry, so you’ll soon end up binging.

3. Get outside

There’s probably no better time for enjoying the outdoors than springtime. If you can’t afford a gym membership, remember that a walk or run outside in the fresh air can often do more for you than an hour indoors on a treadmill.

Spending time outside in the sun is the best way for you to get Vitamin D, which can help reduce your risk of cancer.

4. Find a safe sunscreen

If you’ll be exposed to lots of sunlight during the summer, you’ll need a good sunscreen to protect your skin from UV damage. The right sunscreen will help prevent wrinkles and protect you from skin cancer.

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However, using sunscreens that contain dangerous chemicals like oxybenzone or octinoxate can do more harm than good. Look for a sunscreen made with zinc oxide or titanium oxide, which are very unlikely to penetrate the skin.

Be careful not to go overboard with sunscreen and risk a Vitamin D deficiency. If you have darker skin or live in an area with low levels of sunlight, you may need a sunscreen with a very low SPF or none at all.

5. Clear out your cabinets

While you’re spring cleaning your home, why not get rid of any unhealthy, toxin-filled foods you’ve still got stored away in your kitchen? Do you really need that box of sugary breakfast cereal or that canned spaghetti? If you don’t have them, you won’t be tempted to eat them.

To quell cravings, keep nuts, seeds and raw vegetables like carrots on hand to ensure you get plenty of healthy nutrients. Enjoy healthy summer fruits like plums and peaches.

6. Hydrate

Drinking plenty of water won’t just keep you cool. A well-hydrated body means youthful, moist skin that maintains its elasticity.

If you’re trying to lose weight, drinking water can help. Sometimes, we confuse dehydration for hunger, and we eat when we could be drinking. The next time you start feeling hungry, try drinking water before you reach for a snack.

Be careful. Drinking too much pure water can lead to dangerously low sodium levels, or hyponatremia. If you’re sweating excessively, drink juice or smoothies to keep your electrolytes in balance.

7. Up your antioxidants

Antioxidants can help prevent wrinkles and other signs of aging by preventing damage from free radicals. Some commercial skin care products claim to contain antioxidants, but these can contain harmful chemicals as well.

Instead, get your antioxidants from food. For example, you can get lycopene from tomatoes and Vitamin E from leafy green vegetables. Green tea and dark chocolate are great sources of polyphenols.

8. Boost your mood

Nothing improves your appearance like a smile. Exercise doesn’t just help you build muscle and get rid of fat. It causes your body to releases endorphins; opium-like neurotransmitters that make you feel good.

Another mood booster is dark chocolate, which contains phenylethylamine (PEA), a neurotransmitter that causes endorphins to be released. Dark chocolate has other health benefits too, like lowering blood pressure and cholesterol.

While eating sugar also releases endorphins, it’s best to avoid sugar-filled processed foods.

9. Do it for yourself, not for anyone else

While it’s great to know that other people admire your body, a clean lifestyle is all about maximizing your own physical and mental health. Keep your body clean so you feel great for a lifetime; not just until September.

Additional sources:

Exercise and stress: Get moving to manage stress, Mayo Clinic

Hyponatremia, Mayo Clinic

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