Summer represents an opportunity to change up your routine, spend time with the family and maybe even get out of town—but a summer schedule doesn’t have to be a bad thing for keeping up with your workouts. In fact, exercise in the summer can provide great opportunities to work different muscle groups, explore new sports, and most importantly, get outside!
Breathing in fresh air and soaking up a little sun while you exercise can be exhilarating for mind, body, and spirit. It can even revitalize energy and fuel positive thinking.
Here are five places where you can keep up with summer fitness:
Explore Mountain Terrain
A getaway to the mountains can offer a wealth of trails for biking and hiking through shaded terrain with the serenity of peaceful sounds—think whispering pines and rolling rivers. Lower temperatures also give you a chance to get in a full workout without getting overheated.
Take a hike with inclines to work your legs and glutes. You can also do intermittent powerwalking to get your heart pumping. If you want to enhance your hike, try pole hiking to engage your upper body. The poles can also help to distribute your weight more evenly and reduce stress to your knees.
Mountain biking is another great high-altitude workout because you can tighten and tone your legs, hips, and butt. If you plan ahead you might be able to train ahead of time for a mountain bike race or biking and hiking obstacle course.
Even more leisurely mountain activities such as horseback riding can provide exercise because gripping the saddle works your inner thighs and butt.
Make the Most of Your Beach Getaway
If you are lucky enough to travel, or even better – live close to the beach, have your mask, fins and snorkel at the ready to explore the local aquatic life and work your back extensors, lower limbs, and trunk.
The resistance of working out on the beach also provides great exercise, whether you are building a sand castle (fill full buckets of sand and twist and toss behind you to work obliques) or join a game of volleyball, football, or frisbee to break a sweat while in vacation-mode.
Look for a chance to take out a kayak or surfboard and grab some paddles. The resistance of paddling through water can help tone arms, strengthen your back and work your shoulders, core, and obliques.
Find Exercise in Your Neighborhood
If you are sticking close to home this summer, think about waking up early and walking to your neighborhood pool for a morning swim. Bring a kickboard to include a good leg workout. Look for early water aerobics classes for a whole-body workout without breaking a sweat. If you are entertaining kiddos this summer, think about ways to tie in play and exercise, such as mid-torso power walking in the shallow end or swinging your arms under the water with palms out for resistance.
Even your local park offers a chance to get in a solid workout. Look for a bench, a curb, a hanging bar, and even a track to combine cardio and strength exercises. Invite some friends and turn it into a bootcamp-style workout.
Burn Calories from the Comfort of Your Home
Chores can be a great way to tackle household to-dos and burn calories at the same time. Have those invasive weeds in your garden been on your mind? Make a rigorous session of gardening your summer workout. Concentrate on bending and squatting from multiple angles. Cleaning and organizing inside and outside of the house can also burn calories. Think scrubbing the tub, vacuuming, or organizing the garage. Find your favorite upbeat music to keep you going and incorporate jumping jacks, push-ups, or squats to amp up the exercise value.
Self-directed yoga is another great way to exercise from home. Find some shade under your favorite tree, set out your mat and find a free yoga instructional video on your tablet to seek your inner Zen while working your muscles.
Find Power in Numbers
Summer team sports provide a great way to keep exercise on your schedule, stay outside, and find social support to keep from making an excuse to hang in the hammock instead. Tennis is a big calorie-burning activity that also works arms, shoulders, and back. Softball can work your chest, arms, legs, abs, shoulders, and back. Golf can work arms, abs, back, and shoulders and you can amp up your calorie burn by carrying your own clubs.
With any summer exercise be sure to keep a sturdy outdoor water bottle with you to stay hydrated, and find your best sweat- and water-resistant sunblock to apply liberally. The beauty of changing up your workout for the summer is that you will find new inspiration to get back to the gym when fall begins.