The warm Summer months are a great time to set aside your indoors fitness routine in exchange for creative outdoors activities. There are so many options for outdoors exercise – including hiking, biking, swimming, jogging, among many others. Also, gardening and other work outside while the weather is nice are great for keeping you active as well during this time of the year.
It’s important to keep in mind that exercise does not necessarily need to be a consistent bout of 30 or 40 minutes of exhilarating activity. Recreational activities can also be great exercise as well. Bouts of activities throughout the day which raise your cardiovascular output for just 5 or 10 minutes will add up. Something is better than nothing. This time of the year provides many opportunities for such activities.
If you’re near a lake, you can take up canoeing for recreation. Canoeing is an invigorating way to enjoy the lake and the nature surrounding you. It’s also a great way to get or stay in shape. It’s a great total body workout, allowing you to work multiple muscle groups. While canoeing, you are working the shoulders, abdominals and obliques, and the back. Just remember to keep in mind that you need to work both sides of your body – If you’re rowing on one side for a while, be sure to also row on the opposite side of the canoe for the same amount of time to provide balance in your muscles worked. It’s not ideal to strengthen one side of your body more than the other.
Another way to get in some exercise while enjoying nature is hiking. Make a drive to the mountains and find a trail. This activity is good for the muscles of the hips, thighs, and legs – working the glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings, and calf muscles. If you’re going up a very mountainous or rocky terrain, pole hiking is a good idea. With pole hiking, you are adding in the upper body and core muscles as well – engaging the arms, shoulders, abdominals and obliques. This is another great total body workout. Just go at a pace you can handle. Take short breaks when you need to. You are engaging in interval training, getting in cardiorespiratory and resistance exercise, all while enjoying the great outdoors. Not a bad way to exercise.
Then there’s the beach. There are so many activities you can do here. Snorkeling is a great activity to get in some swimming exercise while enjoying the beautiful sea life and other colorful features underwater. While you may not be getting an intense cardio workout when snorkeling, you are engaging the lower body and back muscles while swimming with fins. It’s quite a pleasurable way to exercise during your vacation at the beach.
If you aren’t really into being out in the water while at the beach, you can also play some beach volley ball, throw the frisbee, or pass the football with someone. These activities can get you winded rather quickly, providing great cardio exercise while having some fun.
Just walking on the sand at the beach is exercise, as it gives you added resistance that walking on a treadmill or on the street will not give. You are having to work the stability muscles in your ankles far more while walking on the sand than you would by walking on other surfaces. It’s also better on the knees, ankles, and hips, since the sand has plenty of give to it – you get practically no give from concrete.
Just remember while engaging in activities outdoors this Summer to stay hydrated. The heat can be dangerous, particularly if not taking in a sufficient amount of fluids and electrolytes. Keep water on hand wherever you go when you think you’ll be outdoors for more than 30 minutes in temperatures above 80 degrees, particularly if you are going to be active during your time outside in the heat.