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Shelter Island wellness column with Suzette: Soaking up the summer

We finally made it — summer on Shelter Island! 

We just experienced the Summer Solstice, which is an important reminder to celebrate the nourishing light of the sun and the light within each of us.

As we approach our own summer fitness and wellness routines, let’s include all aspects of ourselves, mind-body-spirit. We can begin by connecting with nature so our nervous system can relax and reset, as we breathe this sweet-smelling, clean air into our bodies, allowing us to slow down and feel grounded on the “Rock.”

As Joseph Pilates states:, “Let the breath be an internal wash.”

There are so many ways to use our beautiful island as a playground to enrich our well-being and our inner joy. How well-balanced is your wellness lifestyle?

Let’s include more stretching  to our strength training. Let’s include cardio and weights. Let’s include mindfulness and breath; let’s include friends and community. Let’s include sunsets on the beach and stargazing.

We are so blessed to live on such a beautiful island.  Let’s shake things up and do those summer things we always say we will do but never find the time.

What are three summer fun activities, old or new, that you can do this summer, either alone or with friends and family to feel a deeper sense of joy, fulfillment and well-being?

For me:

#1 Getting on my bike and tooling around. It brings me such a simple relaxing sense of joy, but I never seem to make the time. (Cardio — check!)

#2 Grabbing a picnic basket and gathering some friends together and have a simple dinner at the beach. (Friends and community — check! )

#3 Reading that book that has been waiting for my attention. (Mindfulness — check!)

In terms of classes, it’s always good to try something new. Exercises like Pilates, Yoga and Zumba are great for keeping a flexible body and mind.

Non-impact exercises such as walking, swimming, biking, dancing and rowing are really important for us. Balance the workout with some weight training, which is important for maintaining bone density needed for graceful aging.

Breathe fresh air. A long walk on any of our breathtaking beaches to take in the view does wonders for helping to lift our mood and clear our head and heart. Even better, take in the view from a paddle board or kayak. We are lucky to have many calm creeks and bays surrounding the Island that make for a peaceful way to enjoy exercising on the water. 

Time seems to be moving faster and faster, so let’s go for it and enjoy feeling fully alive.

Wishing you all a healthy happy summer of wellbeing and self-care.

Suzette Smith (Courtesy photo)

Suzette Smith is the owner of Shelter Island Pilates and Barre, offering private, group, and virtual classes year round.  Visit shelterislandpilates.com for more information.