In spring you can’t go online or open a magazine without seeing all sorts of articles and advertisements promising to help you shed pounds and get ready for bathing-suit season. We hear all about how to get in shape for summer, but what about how to get (and stay) fit during summer?
With scorching temperatures and endless distractions, summer can be one of the hardest times to stay motivated. (It takes real dedication to hit the gym when you could be lounging by a pool.) But the benefits of exercise – weight loss, increased energy, improved immune system, better health, the list goes on – are the same in every season, so a little heat is no excuse to abandon your workouts. In fact, summer presents a multitude of great exercise options.
Here are our top five ways to make the most of summer exercise:
1. Get Outside
Gyms are great when it’s cold and rainy out, but in the summer heat they can become stuffy and just plain gross. Instead, take your exercise routine outside where you can enjoy the sunshine and fresh air (which will smell a lot better than the stale sweat in your gym, we promise). To beat the heat, pick a shady route and restrict your workouts to cooler parts of the day, like early morning and evening.
2. Have a Ball
To keep your workout from feeling like work, make it a game. Grab some friends and a basketball, soccer ball, football, volleyball – whichever you like – and arrange a scrimmage, or just play pass. Just like when you were a kid, you’ll be exercising, but it’ll just feel like a fun summer afternoon.
3. Dive In
Heading to a pool is the obvious choice for escaping summer heat, but it can also be a great decision when it comes to fitness. If you’ve been watching the Olympics, you’ve no doubt noticed how great the swimmers look. In addition to keeping you cool, swimming can help you burn fat and build muscle for that perfectly toned “swimmer’s body.” It is also a great option if you’re injured – or for cross training so you don’t get injured. Not a big fan of swimming laps? You can still keep cool and use water resistance in your favor. Check out these non-swimming abdominal pool exercises from Livestrong.
4. Vacation with Caution
Taking time off work doesn’t have to mean taking time off exercise. Whether you’re vacationing on a tropical island or in a big city, there are always ways to work in exercise. Run on the beach; rent a bike for site seeing instead of taking a bus; or try an entirely new fitness activity like standup paddle boarding. Staying active will keep you in a better mood for your travels, help offset the extra calories you’re sure to consume and make it much easier for you to jump back into your normal fitness routine when you return home.
5. Drink Up
Stay hydrated! Drinking plenty of water (most guidelines recommend 8-10 glasses a day) is important year-round, but in summer it becomes even more important as we need to replenish the water we lose through sweat. Many problems generally associated with heat, including headaches, lethargy and irritability, are actually signs of dehydration. Water is even more essential when you are physically active as dehydration can lead to muscle cramps and fatigue.