Conquer a mountain bike trail, try probiotic-loaded kombucha, apply sunscreen smartly—see all our tips for healthy living this summer.

By By the editors of MidwestLiving.com
Bike

1) Ride a Mountain Bike Trail "Twelve years ago a friend invited me on a mountain bike trip," Anne Clark recalls. "So I bought a bike with a hope and a dream that I'd fall in love, and I totally did. I adore the speed and the personal challenge." But she knows riding a singletrack trail (potentially in the company of ripped pros in stretchy race tees) can be scary. So finding your tribe is key. Anne helms Minneapolis Off-Road Cyclists, a nonprofit that maintains more than 100 miles of Twin Cities trails. (Helping maintain trails is a great way to plug in and meet riders.) Or look for a women-only group. In Chicago, for example, Skunkworks Racing hosts Women's Dirt Day outings each summer, with monthly peer-led rides for all levels. Anne's beginners' advice: "Know who you are and be comfortable with your limits. You don't have to show off to anybody."

Take a Class You'll learn about body position, navigating turns, trail etiquette and more. Many local groups hold clinics, and most REI stores offer a variety of classes, including Introduction to Mountain Biking.

Try Then Buy Start by renting a bike from a local shop. If you fall in love with the sport and decide to buy, women should keep in mind that women's bikes have completely different frames and suspension for a better fit and ride.

Know Your Limits An adrenaline rush is cool; a broken wrist isn't. So don't be shy about hopping off the bike for a sharp turn or scary-steep incline. Even pros follow this mantra: When in doubt, walk it out.

A singletrack trail is one that's the width of a bike-like the Switchgrass Trail at Wilson State Park in Kansas. Photo by Doug Stremel.

2) Destress at Airports Air travelers in Lincoln, Nebraska, can hang with a therapy dog before boarding a flight. Can this please become a trend? Because even if you aren't an anxious flier, it certainly can't hurt to get puppy kisses while you sit out that inevitable delay. (See more ways to relax at Midwest airports.)

Saber is ready for his cuddle-up. Photo courtesy of Lincoln Airport.

3) Walk Every Day "For almost 30 years, I have walked nearly every day over lunch. It's good for my body, even better for my mind and soul. I think back, look ahead, pray-even brainstorm story titles."-Gary Thompson, Midwest Living Senior Staff Writer

4) Take a Dip Featuring Midwest-grown ingredients and fun flavors, Chicago-based Here dips are great for at-work munchies or a quick nosh while you cook dinner. (We love the fabulously pink Garlic Beet White Bean variety.) Find them at Whole Foods and other retailers.

Chicago based Here hummus dips. Photo by Blaine Moats.

5) Clean Your Routine Based in Green Bay, Wisconsin, Au Naturale offers a full array of makeup-all organic, vegan and paraben-free. Founder Ashley Prange is a former nuclear analyst who has become a leader in lobbying for stricter regulation of cosmetics ingredients.

6) Practice Sun Safety 30 minutes: The time it takes for some sunscreens to fully absorb and stick to skin. Apply generously, then wait to catch rays.

7) Sip for Gut Health If you haven't tried the tart, probiotic-loaded fermented tea known as kombucha, order a flight at one of these bars.

Lone Pine Kombucha, Rapid City, South Dakota At South Dakota's first licensed kombucha brewer, you can order smoothies made with the fizzy tea.

Confluence Kombucha, St. Louis Sample rotating flavors like Hibiscus Jasmine Juniper, and enjoy a full food menu starring avocado kimchi and other house ferments.

Wild Culture Kombucha, Iowa City Try Beet Orange Lime or Pineapple Kiwi Coconut-alone or mixed in a shandy with local beer or hard cider.

8) Relax with an Easy Read A single mom dives back into dating in The Overdue LIfe of Amy Byler, a fictional romantic romp loosely inspired by the real life of Wisconsin author Kelly Harms (Lake Union, $25).

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