Whether summer to you means shorter work hours and beachside vacations or hectic childcare arrangements and chaos, one thing is certain: It’s one of the best times to enjoy fitness activities outdoors. Here, our all-time favorite ways to stay fit during these longer daylight hours.
- Garden: Get in tune with Mother Nature and burn a few extra calories. While you’re at it, why not try planting a vegetable garden this summer? It’s a great way to get lots of healthy, free food.
- Play with your kids: Run through the sprinkler, toss a ball around, play frisbee — kids know all the best ways to be active! Why let them have all the fun?
- Go for a walk: Take advantage of those extra evening hours and warm breezes to take a long stroll after dinner. It’s an excellent way to connect with a loved one or calm your mind after a busy day.
- Join a recreational sports league: Weight loss isn’t just about “boring” exercise in a gym. This summer, make your fitness routine a game (literally!) by joining a rec sports league. Many communities have these listed online or on bulletin boards in the parks where the teams play.
- Clean house: Spring may be the official cleaning season, but summer is one of the best times to have a yard sale. Clean out your garage or attic (or a family member’s); you’ll burn calories with all that lifting and moving, and make a few bucks to boot.
- Prep for a race: Even if you’re not a runner, you can still prep for a 5K. Maybe you’ll end up walking the whole thing, but that’s probably a lot farther than you would have gone before. Summer is a great time to try training for your first (or fiftieth) race; here’s training guide to get you started.
- Go swimming: Not going on a seaside vacation? No problem! Look for a pool in your local community to take water aerobics classes or swim laps. Many pools offer lessons for adults, so you can learn to swim for the first time, or learn some more formal strokes to get you through those laps.
- Learn to surf: Surfers make it look like a breeze, but make no mistakes: Surfing is an intense full-body workout. Tack some lessons onto your beach vacay to prevent those vacation pounds from sneaking up on you.
- Take an outdoor fitness class: Many towns offer free or discounted exercise options in public parks during the summer. Grab a pal and join in — you may feel silly at first, but once those exercise endorphins kick in, you’ll forget all about those lame onlookers who are missing out on the fun.
- Go hiking: Whether you make it a weekend camping trip, or just discover some trails in your local community, spending time in nature has been shown to improve your mood and reduce depression. Head to TrailLink (or your local park’s website) to find trails in your area.
- Take an active vacation: Going on vacation? Research exercise options at your destination beforehand. If you book a yoga class or bike tour in advance, you’ll be far less likely to skip the workout — plus you’ll get a unique perspective on your destination you might otherwise have missed.
- Plan a field day: This is the season of family reunions and office picnics. If you’re involved in planning one of these events, try making physical activity a part of the festivities. Sack races and three-legged races are a great way to work off those burgers and chips.
- Bike to work: If weather usually prevents you from biking to work, this is the perfect time to give it a try. Even if you just bike in a few days a week, you’ll still be burning hundreds of calories more than you otherwise would have.
Of course, summer exercise isn’t completely without its downsides. A killer sunburn or dehydration can put a real damper on your fun. Take these precautions to stay safe in the summer heat:
- Wear appropriate clothing (think: loose and light; quick-drying is even better).
- Exercise in the morning and evening when the weather is coolest.
- Wear sunblock, and reapply is you get wet or every couple hours.
- Drink plenty of water. Take a drink at least every 15 minutes, even if you don’t feel thirsty.
- Pay attention to the weather forecast and plan appropriately — thunderstorms and lightning can also be a summertime concern.