With the mercury rising and family vacations pulling us away from our typical routines, it can be easy to let physical activity slide in summertime. But this season’s relaxing vibe shouldn’t include skimping on your daily movement quota—after all, exercise is a must for your mental health as much as your physical well-being.
As long as you work out safely, with the proper precautions, it’s easy to incorporate plenty of heart-pumping activities in your summertime regimen. Whether you’re beating the heat inside an air-conditioned enclave or hitting the beach for some fun in the sun, here are some ideas to inspire you—and tips to make sure you stay safe as the temperatures soar.As long as you work safely, with the proper precautions, it’s easy to incorporate plenty of heart-pumping activities in your summertime regimen. Click To Tweet
Summertime Fitness Ideas
- Get wet. Too hot out to work out? Cool off with a dip in a lake, river, pool, or ocean. Swimming (even doggy paddling!) is a low-impact exercise that’s ideal for those with joint issues, while some prefer more formal aquacise routines (resistance exercises performed in the pool). You can also incorporate different water activities in the appropriate settings, such as surfing, kayaking, or paddleboarding, all great for the upper body and core.
- Hit the gym. If you have a gym membership, summertime is a great time to take advantage of it. Not only are gyms less crowded at this time of year, they offer the benefit of air-conditioned environs on the hottest days. And if you don’t already have a membership, you may find a great deal on a new contract, or a free short-term trial offer, in the summer months. Less-crowded fitness classes can also be the ideal time to learn a new routine, since you can snag extra personal attention from instructors to fine-tune your form.
- Try at-home workouts. YouTube, Eventbrite, and other platforms offer a plethora of paid and free fitness classes that you can complete in the air-conditioned comfort of your home. This is also a great way to sample new types of workouts—from Zumba and barre to Pilates and hula hooping—and choose whatever amount of time commitment works for you. With on-demand videos, you can even split a longer class into shorter segments throughout the day if you’re strapped for time. (Here’s an easy one you can knock out in just 10 minutes!)
- Start a summertime fitness challenge. Grab your friends, family, or co-workers and sign everyone up for a self-designed fitness challenge. Whether it’s aiming for a certain number of steps per day, hitting a weekly workout target, or an exercise-specific strength training challenge (think planks, push-ups, or squats), you’ll gain accountability and camaraderie by working together toward your goals. You can even motivate everyone by offering a prize or perk at the end for hitting specific targets—or simply for participating throughout the summer.
- Head outdoors… On days when the weather’s optimal, get outside for some fresh air and physical activity. You can try beach volleyball, a leisurely game of tennis or golf, a bicycle ride, or a hike (preferably under a canopy of lush trees for some much-needed shade!). Even a relaxing walk counts as movement—and, especially when done in nature, can have significant stress-reducing effects. Having fun with your fitness has been shown to ramp up its benefits!
- …Or seek indoor opportunities. There are plenty of indoor activities to sample when the heat gets downright oppressive. This is a great opportunity to give yourself new challenges, or attempt sports you’ve never tried before. Hit a local roller skating or ice skating rink, scale heights safely with indoor rock climbing, or find an indoor court for squash or badminton. Alternatively, take a stroll through a local shopping mall, art gallery, or indoor walking track.
- Slow it down. Not every exercise has to involve a frenetic, sweat-pouring pace. Ease up on your routine with relaxing yoga, tai chi, or qi gong. These so-called “meditative movement” approaches have been associated in a variety of studies with a range of health benefits—everything from reduced stress, anxiety, and depression to improved quality of life among Parkinson’s and cancer patients. There are also small steps you can take to get extra doses of exercise throughout the day, like taking the stairs instead of the elevator—and these efforts can really add up.
Guidelines for Safe Summertime Activity
It’s summertime, the weather is fine, and you’re ready to head outdoors for some fun activities. Great idea! But don’t forget that warmer weather conditions may require some extra prep. Though it’s often perfectly safe to work out in summer, when you’re heading outdoors, you’ll want to take a few precautions:
- Stay hydrated. Drinking plenty of water before, during, and after a workout is always important, but especially so in warmer weather.
- Target off-peak hours. When summer temps soar, high noon can be a tricky time for exercising outdoors. Try getting out in the early-morning or evening hours, when the UV index is reduced.
- Wear sunscreen! For outdoors activity, coat skin in a broad-spectrum formula to protect skin from the summer sun.
- Check with your doctor before starting a new program of physical activity—especially important if you have health issues, will be heading outdoors, or take any medications.
- Familiarize yourself beforehand with the telltale signs of heat-related illnesses. While summer is a great time to stay active, it’s also the time to take those extra steps and ensure safety!
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If you’re struggling and need professional help, Amen Clinics is here for you. We offer in-clinic brain scanning and appointments, as well as mental telehealth, remote clinical evaluations, and video therapy for adults, children, and couples. Find out more by speaking to a specialist today at 888-288-9834 or visit our contact page here.