There’s nothing better than the smell of campfires, the sound of crickets, a twinkling sky and a lemonade in hand. Noses twitching from the smell of a grill, sun dusted cheeks and the gentle glide of sailboats add to the experience. Complete with the joyful noise of children playing outside, this summer scene sounds pretty much perfect.

As I ponder my magical summer travels and experiences, I never remember the temperature registering at one thousand degrees like it has been this year. I don’t recall in between popsicles and beach days sweating bullets and dying to stay inside. After a few Miami summers under my belt, though, I’ve learned that there are enjoyable ways to om it out in the midst of Mother Nature’s sauna.

For those who have gone through some sort of body shift, you may notice after a while that your body and mind become accustomed to the same patterns of exercise. You’re busting it on the trails while your results seem to be on vacation. The fix? Shake it up. Use the sizzling summer heat as an excuse to change up your routine. Right now is the ideal time to try that air conditioned studio down the block or the community lap pool. Need nature? Keep cool and active with water sports. Whether you’re surfing, kayaking, swimming or wakeboarding, the resistance of the water helps to build strength, providing an overall killer workout.

When that 6am alarm sounds and you’re just not ready to get out of bed, remember that you’re up early because you’re about to be good to yourself! Early morning summer workouts are the way to go. It’s less hot, there are less bugs, and it’s quiet and still. Avoiding times of prime heat and sun make it easier for you to continue with your outdoor routine or start one for that matter. Working out in the morning will help to boost your metabolism, allowing you to burn more calories throughout you day. Think 7am breezy beach jog!

There’s a little girl inside me chasing the ice cream man down the street. My calm, collected adult self looks down at my bowl of watermelon and, suddenly, the pink juicy goodness turns to a strawberry shortcake ice cream pop with sprinkles. Joining my 7-year-old self in the truck’s line, I ponder in my mind all the ice cream choices. That’s right; we do have choices. In the attempt to promote better living, even the ice cream man has healthier options. With all the summer BBQs, 4th of July festivities and campfire roasts, you can still choose wisely. Skip the buns, hold the macaroni salad, go for the light beer, grill kebobs instead of burgers, take a double portion of the grilled veggies and even try a fresh fish! My summer favorite? Yellowtail snapper.

Year round, sipping H2O throughout the day is in integral part of any healthy lifestyle. In hotter temps, the increase of water consumption is a necessary component to overall internal balance. When water intake does not equal water output, the body can become dehydrated. Adding a water bottle to your daily belongings is an ideal way to make certain you stay hydrated. Spruce up your bottle with a lemon slice, or any flavor of your choice, to make your water delicious. Concerned the bottle won’t stay cold? That might be a good thing. Despite the desire to enjoy icy cold water in the summer, room temperature water is actually best. Health studies show that cold water interferes with the natural process of digestion. Another option is coconut water, a great choice for those of us who feel they spend their entire summer dripping with sweat because the electrolytes in coconut water allow us to fully replenish. Increasing your intake of water containing foods, such as watermelon, is also a good choice when trying to stay hydrated.

From a mother’s point of view, it’s important not to neglect summer adolescent and pet care. Sunscreen, water and bug spray for the kids while short grooming and hydration for our furry friends helps make for a smoother summer. While the kids are out of school and at home, come up with fun ideas to keep your family healthy. Staying active with refreshing pool visits and indoor creative games are great ways to keep life balanced. Remember with our pups, the ground is hotter in the summer and those little paws are sensitive! For their sake, opt for grass over concrete whenever possible.

It’s said that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Well, my friend, that is YOU. You’re that stunning person staring back, so don’t forget to switch to a summer skin regimen. Skin changes with the seasons and your facial products should too. Getting a cleansing facial and some expert product suggestions will make your skin glow. In the summer, it’s best to choose a cleanser with a foam base and a lighter moisturizer. Also if you haven’t made friends with a toner, introduce yourself now! Toners hydrate and balance the pH of skin. And, as always, be sure that an SPF product is part of your daily skin care regimen.

The heat is one of summer’s greatest challenges we face when it comes to maintaining a healthy lifestyle, but we can’t let it stop us from staying healthy. Always protect yourself inside and out when it comes to keeping fit and healthy in the summertime.

By Liz Newman