Why It's Smart to Set Health Goals in the Summer

Begin a June Bloom Program to Live Verywell

Woman riding bike on bridge path

Guille Faingold / Stocksy United

Most people set health goals in January after the holidays. But New Year's resolutions often get buried beneath the burden of cold winter chores and frigid dark days. Our good intentions are usually forgotten before spring arrives.

So why not set health goals in the summer? A June Bloom program for wellness can set you up for a full year of nutritious eating and healthy physical activity.

Setting Health Goals in June

There are several evidence-based reasons to set your health goals in the summer. Researchers who have studied seasonal changes and their effect on physical activity have found (not surprisingly) that we are less active in the cold winter months.

For instance, one large study found that physical activity increased by 1.4 MET-hours per day (121 calories per day) in men and 1.0 MET-hours per day (or 70 calories per day) in women during the summer in comparison with winter. The researchers even compared summer activity to January activity—when many of us are setting fitness goals—and still found that summer activity was greater.

Benefits of Summer Exercise

The days are longer in the summer. In most areas, you're likely to get about nine hours of daylight in January. But in June, you're likely to get over 15 hours of daylight.

According to the American Council on Exercise, lack of time is the most commonly cited reason for why people don't begin exercising. People also often complain that they don't have enough time to shop for and prepare healthy meals. So why not set health goals at a time when it feels like you have five or six more hours in the day to be successful?

If you start an activity program for good health in the summer, you're giving yourself a built-in stimulus to reach your goals. Warm temperatures and longer days give you the boost that you need to be successful.

Of course, there is nothing wrong with making a New Year's resolution. The clean slate of a new year is a powerful motivator. But then again, resetting yourself with a June Bloom makes sense, too. It's like starting a race on the downhill instead of the uphill.

Tips for Getting Started

Not sure what kind of health goal you should set? Weight loss goals, fitness goals, and healthy eating goals are popular choices. But there are many different health goal examples that you can adjust to suit your lifestyle.

Keep in mind that SMART goals work best. These are goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound. The more time you can take to clearly define your goals, the more likely you are to reach them.

So once you decide how you'd like to bloom in June, write out your goals and post them in a place where you see them (and become inspired!) every day. Try any of these ideas to get started.

Get the Kids Involved in the Kitchen

Let kids get creative with cooking in the summer. Assign one healthy meal challenge per week and let them plan and prep a meal for the family (with help from mom or dad as needed). A fun challenge might include making a dessert with seasonal fruit or finding ways to use at least three veggies in the meal.

Make Weekly Visits to the Farmers Market

Shopping for groceries at the local farmers market is a fun way to learn about local and sustainable foods. It's also a great way to learn about healthy foods that you may not have known about before. Talk to growers about different ways to prepare seasonal fruits and vegetables to expand your menu repertoire and boost your nutrition.

Increase Your Daily Step Count

If you're used to getting 10,000 steps per day during the cold weather months, add a few extra thousand in the summer. By increasing your step count to 12,000 or even 15,0000 steps per day you'll be motivated to get outside and walk during your lunch hour or take an evening stroll after dinner. Ask your spouse or neighbor to join you in the challenge and hold each other accountable.

Bike to Work

Set a goal to cycle a certain number or miles per week or a certain number of days per week. Track your progress with a fitness tracker or smartphone app. No bike? No problem! Many cities have rental bike stations dotted throughout the community so there are always wheels available for you to use.

Additionally, a study published in BMJ found that bike commuters are less likely to die from cardiovascular disease, cancer, and all-cause mortality.

You'll not only burn extra calories, and improve leg strength, but you might also live longer as a result of your effort.

Visit the Local Pool for Exercise

Parents might visit the community pool to let their kids play in the water. But the summer is also a great time to use outdoor pools for exercise. Many community pools offer lap lane hours when the pool is available for adult exercise at no charge or for a small fee. If you're not a swimmer, take a lesson, try aqua jogging, or sign up for an aqua aerobics class.

Gather a Family Health History

Visiting family during summer break? Perhaps you're going to a family reunion. Take this opportunity to gather essential health data from family. Your healthcare provider can use the information to evaluate your risk for disease and make recommendations regarding screening tests so that you stay fit, healthy, and well for many more family reunions to come.

Organize a Park Clean-Up

Your local playground or park is a great place to exercise regardless of age. Kids can burn off excess energy on the jungle gym or slide, but adults can also use playground equipment to get a great workout.

Keep your park clean and safe by gathering a few neighbors and scheduling a day to pick up trash, and check the safety of the equipment. Then make a weekly playdate to use the space for healthy activities, like a ball game and picnic.

Rent a Community Garden Space

Your town may have community garden plots available in the spring and summer that you can use to grow your own veggies, fruit, or flowers. This is another fun way to get kids involved in healthy cooking and eating. Let them choose seeds at the garden store and tend the garden throughout the summer months. When the harvest comes in, let them use their fresh food to prepare a healthy meal.

Discover Your Healthy Weight

Summer clothes often inspire beach body envy, but the best body weight for you may not be the best body weight for someone else. If your body mass index (BMI) is too high or too low, ask your doctor about how it might impact your overall health profile over the long term. Then get referrals to a registered dietitian or other specialists to help you reach your optimal weight.

Your healthcare provider can help you determine a healthy body weight for you based on your activities and your health needs.

Explore Local Hiking Trails

Find at least one new path to explore each weekend in the summer. If you have kids, get out the maps and let them help you plan. Organize your starting location and a target route with the mileage. Then prepare and pack healthy snacks for the day. You can even take time to research local birds and wildlife to look for on the day trip.

Try a New Sport

If you're bored with your current exercise routine, there is no better time try a new activity than the summer. Running groups are active this time of year. Walkers and cyclists often organize group tours in the summer as well.

You might find pick-up basketball games in the local park, summer softball leagues, or tennis lessons on community courts. Whatever sport you choose, commit to a weekly schedule for the duration of the summer.

Your body will benefit from doing a new type of movement and learning new skills is great for the brain, too.

Volunteer

If you and the kids have more time on your hands in the summer, use it to help others. Choose a volunteer activity and make a weekly or biweekly commitment to help out. Perhaps there is a senior center in the neighborhood that needs landscape work. Or you might serve meals to people who are out of work or going through a difficult transition.

Volunteering is good for the soul, but it may provide health benefits as well. According to a report compiled by the Corporation for National and Community Service, volunteers report greater life satisfaction and better physical health than do non-volunteers, and their life satisfaction and physical health improve at a greater rate as a result of volunteering.

A Word From Verywell

There is no perfect time to set a new health goal. For the reasons listed above, many readers will find that starting a new exercise or healthy eating program works best during the warm summer months. But if you're reading this article in October, you shouldn't wait eight months to start getting healthy.

To be successful at any time of year, seek guidance from your healthcare provider so that your health goals are meaningful and relevant. Then gather support from friends, family members, coworkers, or members of your community.

Some people also connect with others online. Then keep each other accountable on the journey to wellness. You'll find challenges are easier to overcome with the encouragement of others, and success is more fun when you have friends to help you celebrate.

Was this page helpful?
Article Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Matthews CE, Freedson PS, Hebert JR, et al. Seasonal variation in household, occupational, and leisure time physical activity: longitudinal analyses from the seasonal variation of blood cholesterol studyAmerican Journal of Epidemiology. 2001;153(2):172-183. doi:10.1093/aje/153.2.172

  2. Bryant CX, Green DJ, Merrill S, ACE Health Coach Manual. American Council on Exercise. 2013.

  3. Celis-Morales CA, Lyall DM, Welsh P, et al. Association between active commuting and incident cardiovascular disease, cancer, and mortality: prospective cohort studyBMJ. Published online April 19, 2017:j1456. doi:10.1136/bmj.j1456

  4. Tabassum F, Mohan J, Smith P. Association of volunteering with mental well-being: a lifecourse analysis of a national population-based longitudinal study in the UKBMJ Open. 2016;6(8):e011327. doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2016-011327