Whether to lose weight or get active, summer is the perfect time to shed the cobwebs of winter and feel great in your own skin. Long sunlit days make it easier than ever to get fit and stay fit, but starting a new health regime in the first place can be tricky. To help you get summer-ready, we spoke to several health and fitness experts about how they get in shape for the season. From healthy recipes you can enjoy al fresco to tips on how to get the most from your summer workouts; our expert-led guide can help you on the way to better health in time for summer, so you can hit the beach with confidence. Read on for our complete guide or use the links below to navigate.

Barbecues, Exercise and Vitamin D: Your Formula for a Healthy Summer

Summer BBQ Summer is all about being outside, and as if the warmth of the sun wasn’t enough to tempt us outdoors, it’s also great for mind and body. From the flexibility to exercise when and where you want to that much-needed dose of vitamin D; summer is the easiest season in which to stay fit and healthy. Amie Forster of fitness blog, Fitness Forster, loves nothing more than living healthily in the great outdoors throughout the summer months. Here, Amie offers five essential tips on how to use the warm weather and long days to your advantage and get fit this summer: 1. Embrace the barbeque ­– Believe it or not, having a BBQ is one of the easiest ways to eat healthy food in summer. Think lean burgers, healthier sausages and plenty of delicious salads! 2. Stay active ­– Nice weather equals lots of outdoor time, so why not strap on those trainers and head out for a long walk or even a run? Taking your workouts outdoors can do wonders for motivation and let’s be honest, who doesn’t love soaking up some rays? Get your workout in and enjoy the sun at the same time. It’s the stuff of life. 3. Get some good old vitamin D – Studies show that vitamin D is good for bone, skin, immunity, muscle health and even memory. Getting out in the sunshine and exposing that skin to the sun is the best way to soak it up and ensure you top up those vitamin D levels. Remember to wear sun cream in hot weather, though. 4. Drink plenty of water – Our bodies need plenty of water anyway but it’s important to keep hydrated, especially in summer and especially if you are sweating and exercising. Woman drinking water after a jog 5. Relax – If anything, summer is the perfect season to kick back and relax. Put your phones and computers away and just take some time in the garden to completely switch off. It will do wonders for your mind.”

Overindulged? Learn How to Fight the Flab this Summer

Barbecues and beer gardens may be par for the course throughout the summer, but they’re not conducive to an active lifestyle and healthy waistline. The good news is you can still enjoy a little of what you love without the shame this summer, provided you’re willing to put the work in to burn off last night’s BBQ drinking session. If you want to lose weight in time for summer, the experts at Les Mills suggest one thing and one thing only: regular exercise. Here, they fill us in on how best to crunch the calories in time for summer: “Indulging over a sunny summer weekend is almost unavoidable, with barbecues being fired up and sunlit beer gardens enticing you in with the promise of a thirst-quenching pint. But with the addition of just a few snacks and naughty treats it’s easy to consume another 1,000 calories a day, and a weekend binge can soon rack up the calorie count. “But fear not, as a recent study has found that you don’t need to put yourself through hours of cardio-torture to lose weight. Instead, the peer-reviewed study published in the Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport claims that a low-weight, high-repetition workout is much more effective in fighting the flab – so you don’t need to bust a gut down the gym to justify last night’s binge. Weights class in the gym “The new research proves that by building more muscle through weight-training, you’re ultimately burning more calories, so adopting the weight lifestyle in time for summer will help you develop sustainable training habits while building your best body.”

Choose Healthy Alternatives for a Summer of Wellness

A healthy and active lifestyle should make you feel good, and not as if you’re constantly missing out on the things you love. Giving up your favourite foods in the run up to summer may help you lose weight, but it won’t be good for your long-term wellbeing, and that’s the most important thing. Bradley Nichol of Nutree Life believes that one of the best ways to get in shape for summer is to swap your foodie favourites for healthy alternatives – and no, not just fruit. Here, Bradley offers his top tips to make food swaps work for you: “The typical advice that you’re likely to receive when you’re trying to get into summer shape is to cut down on calories by removing junk foods and treats from your diet. However, this is easier said than done! Instead of removing your favourite treats completely, why not replace them with healthier alternatives? For example, instead of eating that sugar and fat laden Chinese takeaway, try making your own homemade version instead. Not only will you save on calories, you’ll probably save some money too! “Or, perhaps alcohol is the Achilles heel of your summer holiday diet? While there isn’t a healthier alternative, you can reduce its impact on your fat loss plans by finding low carb options. For example, there are zero grams of sugar in gin, whereas you’ll find upwards of four grams in a glass of wine. Gin at sunset “So, remember, it’s not about depriving yourself, it’s about finding those healthier alternatives for successful and long-term fat loss.” Whatever your health and fitness plans this summer, you can make the warm weather a little sweeter with a luxury home fragrance candle or diffuser from Parks. Our range of handcrafted fragrances are the perfect accompaniment to those hazy summer days – click here to browse our complete collection today.