Longer days and hot sunny weather can make it more tempting than ever to trade in your fitness routine for barbecues and poolside beverages. But it doesn't have to be all or nothing when it comes to getting and staying fit during the summer months. Take advantage of what the season has to offer and change up your exercise environment by taking your fitness outdoors.
Here are five suggestions for outdoor exercise:
1. Outdoor walking - There's no simpler way to stay fit during the summer than to power walk. Walking is the most natural form of movement and there are multiple benefits when you walk consistently five times a week (and accumulate up to 150 minutes during that time). Those benefits include body weight and blood pressure control, reduced risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes, improved mood and energy and better sleep and stress management.
2. Yoga in nature - Taking your yoga outdoors can contribute to your practice in ways you might not realize. When you're outdoors practicing stillness and mindfulness, you can become more aware of the world around you and feel a greater sense of grounding. You may find, with this new found awareness, more joy and a deeper sense of connection within your own practice then when you are back in the yoga studio. Look online for places that offer outdoor yoga or start your own outdoor practice, all you need is your mat!
3. Recreational league - Joining a recreational sports league is not only a great way to stay fit, it has a fun and social aspect as well. There are many different sports available, whether it's softball or soccer, there's likely something for everyone. Joining a team helps boost motivation to hit the gym and stay committed to your regular routine so you can play your best, stay injury free and contribute to your team's overall performance.
4. Camping - In Canada we have some of most beautiful lakes, rivers and forests around and camping is a great way to take advantage of our rugged landscape. While camping pick activities that accompany a healthy lifestyle like hiking, trail running, swimming, cycling, canoeing or kayaking or paddle boarding. These are not only fitness friendly ideas they're also kid friendly.
5. Outdoor circuit/interval training - Take your favourite body weight strength training moves and insert them into a 30 minute outdoor circuit. Find greenspace with stairs or hills, a trail and benches or a playground, where you preform your go to moves. Each time you train your outdoor circuit increase either the speed or increase the number of repetitions or difficulty of your strength moves to intensity the workout. Your goal should be to 'go hard' within each interval to shock your muscles and kick your body into high gear. Schedule 2-3 circuit/interval training workouts into your weekly exercise schedule to maximize your results.
Here's my outdoor summer sweat circuit you can incorporate into your routine (you may have to modify to what amenities you have available):
Power walk or jog to the park for 5 minutes
Interval 1: Sprint for 60 seconds to a park bench and do incline push-ups for 30 seconds
Interval 2: Sprint for 60 seconds to another park bench and do lunges (with your back foot lifted on the bench) for 30 seconds, switch and repeat
Interval 3: Sprint for 60 seconds to a park bench and do tricep dips for 30 seconds
Interval 4: Sprint for 60 seconds to a park bench and squats for 30 seconds
Interval 5: Sprint for 60 seconds to a set of stairs. Climb up then down for 30 seconds
Interval 6: Sprint for 60 seconds to a park bench and do hip lifts from a sitting position for 30 seconds
Interval 7: Sprint for 60 seconds to a park bench and do single leg dead lifts for 30 seconds
Interval 8: Sprint for 60 seconds to a park bench and do a plank or mountain climbers for 30 seconds
Interval 9: Sprint for 60 seconds to a park bench and isometric squat holding the squat for 30 seconds with arms lifted in front or overhead
Power walk or jog home from the park for 5 minutes
Stretch for 5-7 minutes
Total time: 30 minutes
Whatever type of exercise you choose to do, I hope you make the most of your summer by getting out and enjoying this beautiful country of ours!