Welcome to Nashville, where summers are hot, humid, and hours away from the beach. I’m a water lover — an ocean lover to be honest, but the ocean isn’t here, so how do we beat this summer heat? Two words. Get wet. Kids are the first ones to make you swim (mine are, anyway), and while they’re intimidating at best, they’re also your ticket to a slim figure this summer. Whether it’s the pool, the lake, or a kayak on the Harpeth, the benefits of getting in the water and moving your body range from good heart health to a sexy back, not to mention that summer glow.

Have you ever noticed that kids have the look of summer all summer long? It’s written all over their faces — a permanent smile, a golden glow and effervescent energy that we are all currently looking for in a serum, yet they obtain it naturally! Here’s the deal: kids are chock-full of energy morning and night, and they are outside and in the water as much as possible. Clearly, we can learn a little something from these kids of ours. Getting out in this heat and playing in the water has so many benefits, and a workout is just one of them. And let’s be honest, it’s fun. And whatever happened to some good old-fashioned summer fun?

Here’s what we do to beat the heat (but DON’T forget your sunscreen!).

Have a Pool Party

If there is a pool in your backyard, done. Pick up a watermelon and some healthy snacks at Trader Joes, in Green Hills, grab some sunscreen (like this one from Skin Pharm on 21st Avenue), a good hat from Whites Mercantile, and a stellar playlist and you’re good to go. It doesn’t have to be a pool party with the who’s who in the neighborhood. Just get in your pool and swim! Forget your blowout and just say yes to summer fun (with or without the kiddos). You don’t realize that after an hour or two of swimming with your children or your friends, you’ve already burned the day’s calories and you didn’t even notice you broke a sweat. Winning.

Lake It

In the South, we love a good lake day. Taking out your boat (or renting one) with a small group of friends and drifting off to the middle of Lake Nowhere on a sunny summer day… it’s pretty much perfection. Percy Priest Lake is only a 30-minute drive from downtown. Nashville Shores is a great place to anchor your pontoon and relax, and it’s basically as Southern as you can get for a summer tradition. You can grab food to go on the way at Martin’s BBQ and stock a cooler full of some ice cold beverages. If you just happen to get the perfect summer temperature outside, and you’re on a pontoon, it’s all the things.

River Rats

My boys are not even four yet, but they are boys and they live for the river. With the riverfront at our fingertips, and toddlers turning into young boys, it’s the perfect time to turn them into true Tennessee river rats. Fishing (don’t forget your fishing license at Dick’s Sporting Goods in West Nashville),  skipping rocks, dipping our toes in the water, and exploring the river is not only good for our heart rate, but the outdoors is a sacred and special playground for youth. And by youth, I’m not just talking about the littles. Explore Tennessee on a kayak (work out those arms!), grab some bug spray, have a picnic (grab some fresh food from Produce Place), float and cool off! Memories of a lifetime are literally at your fingertips (note to self). 

Waterpark With All The Perks

A new indoor waterpark, Soundwavesjust recently opened at the Opryland Hotel, and it is the family attraction of not only the summer, but all year long. Exhaust yourself with this beautiful new facility with swimming, rivers, slides and more. Then sleep the night off at the fabulous hotel (we all deserve a night away from the house sometimes). It’s the perfect mini-vacation, and talk about a workout. You’ll basically be walking and swimming an entire amusement park in a day. I can’t think of a better way to do summer than this. Plus, my kids love it.

Or, Chill with a Cocktail

With Nashville summer weather, it’s pretty much a given that the outdoors and a good swim is the best way to cool off, and the best way to do summer living. But it’s also the most obvious way to relax and soak up your Vitamin D with a plethora of things to do outside. And if none of the above is your speed, try a day by the pool at the Omni with adult beverages at your service and friends by your side. In fact, that sounds like a total dream. I’ll meet you there.

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