OK, it’s official: Summer is here. Yes, those tank tops, shorty shorts and bathing suits are ready to be revealed. For those of us who have been staying consistent throughout the year, this is a glorious time when we get to finally show off the fruits of our labor.
Unfortunately, we all haven’t been so on top of it, to say the least, and you may be dreading this time of year. I’m here to let you know that summer is not only the yearly fitness destination we all think of, but can also be a time to reenergize you into some new activities for a healthy lifestyle.
First off, let’s be real — we all aren’t “gym people.” The thought of curling bars, pressing dumbbells, and lunging in the confines of some gutted out ex-office building may not tickle your fancy. Believe it or not, I’m the same way. I started my fitness journey running and playing outside as a kid, and then I grew into playing sports. I would much rather get into a sports game or compete in some activity to stay fit, than drag myself into the gym.
At any rate, I find that many of the exercises we are doing in the gym don’t compare to the benefits of activities we can do outside. The outdoor activities tend to work your body in various planes of motion and use groups of muscles rather than one muscle at a time, making them more functional and therefore better for you. Use the start of the summer months and this nice weather to try some new outdoor activities. Here are a few of my top choices:
Bike Right: Biking around town can be fun, stress relieving and save you some money at the pump. Plus you can burn an extra 500 or more calories throughout the day if you use a bike for your commute. I love the calorie burn I get, but the best part about biking is what it does for my legs and gluts. Add in more biking to your routine and you’ll quickly see that those shorts start to fill out in the back and in all the right places. With city bike share stations popping up everywhere, it makes it even easier to give biking a go.
Sports Body: There’s a reason we equate the best bodies with supreme athletes: because sports tweak our bodies into shape like no other exercise. Sports are unpredictable, your body is always guessing and therefore forcing you to contract more muscles and work harder than during normal activities. If you really want to burn a bunch of calories and rip up those core muscles, then choose sports that force you to be explosive and change directions a bunch. My favorites are flag football, soccer, basketball and volleyball because they force you to sprint and jump in different directions, which always has my abs looking quite nice.
Kayak Attack: I decided to risk getting my hair wet and try kayaking, and it was awesome. Not only did I burn off all of my drinks from the weekend (vodka sodas of course), but the next day my whole mid-section was sore from engaging my core so much while rowing. The resistance of the water helps to shape your back and arms while getting cardio that is easy on your joints.
Make the most of this summer. Use it as a starting block to engage in your fitness journey, or use it as a way to take your existing routine to a new level.