Practicing summer fitness is just as important as staying fit any time of the year. Going outside to exercise on a nice summer day is much better than going to a gym. There are plenty of workouts to be done outside. The fresh air may be more enjoyable than indoor gym air. Kayaking, tennis, and beach volleyball are a few types of activities to be engaged in. Running is a great outdoor activity, and trail running provides even more exercise. It is not all about distance when it comes to trail running because the changes in elevation and uneven terrain provide the extra difficulty. Shorter, quicker steps provide stability on the natural terrain. Everyone should find a simple easy training program that suits them to get the most out of their summer fitness.1 Simple daily stretches are another way to stay flexible, improve range-of-motion, increase circulation, and prepare the body for a workout. The runner’s stretch, standing side stretch, forward hang, and bound angle are all good stretches to perform. Stretching has also been show to decrease stress and aid sleep.2 Summer is often a time for travel and lots of socializing, but that does not mean exercise is completely out of the picture. Take a walk on the beach, a hike in the mountains, or perform whatever activity is best for the vacation. Socially, taking walks and exercising with friends is a great way to stay motivated and still have fun while working out.3
Remember to Stay Cool
Exercising, whether it is done inside or outdoors, really heats up the body. The summer is a good time for working out outside, but staying cool is just as important. Taking a cold shower before exercise has been shown by a German study to lower heart rate as well as the temperatures of the core and skin, improving performance in the heat. Just an ice pack on the neck or head can make a difference as well. Essential oils, such as peppermint or eucalyptus, dabbed on the back of the neck and temples also provides a cooling effect and opens the nasal passages for easier breathing. Someone who usually has a faster pace on the treadmill will probably have to slow down slightly when walking or running outside to adjust to the temperature difference. If it is possible, running, walking, or cycling on dirt or gravel will be cooler than on asphalt or concrete because the latter two paths reflect the rays of the sun and radiate heat. The sun is bright and damaging to the skin, so a hat, sunglasses, and sunblock should be worn and applied on both sunny and cloudy days. A heart rate monitor can keep track of heart rate fluctuations and increased speed so that the body isn’t overworked. This is where working out with a buddy comes in because the ability to have a regular conversation while walking or running means that the pace is not too fast.4
Find a Buddy to Work Out With
Working out with a friend is, for many people, a better alternative to exercising alone. For one thing, planning to meet someone to work out holds all parties accountable and everyone is more likely to show up rather than skip a day. Agreeing to meet with a personal trainer or attend a class holds a similar level of attendance importance. Exercising with a friend also creates a friendly competition. Friends will want to push themselves a little harder for a little longer in front of each other, and they can provide support and encouragement for each other. The mood is also more positive between friends, who can use their workout sessions to talk with and motivate each other. Someone could choose to exercise with just one friend or a whole group of their friends.5
Healthy Eating Habits Make All the Difference
The summer is full of holidays, celebrations, and barbecues. Healthy eating is something that has to be maintained year round. The following are some ideas to help stay on a healthy diet. Breakfast is literally the most important meal of the day because people who skip breakfast are more likely to make up for the missed food, and then some, later in the day. Choosing to drink water over soda or iced tea is a smart decision because water is the most hydrating and healthy drink. Water does dilute electrolytes if too much has been drunk, but foods that contain potassium, like bananas, sodium, chloride, and magnesium make up for the dilution. Unprocessed foods, such as fruits and vegetables that are fresh, can and should be eaten throughout the day. Fruits and vegetables that contain water, such as watermelon and cucumber, are very refreshing, post-workout snacks. Eating smaller portions of healthy food over the course of the day will keep the stomach full and actually help the body reduce stress. There is a fine line between an eating disorder and healthy eating habits, and one is not equal to the other. Treats and similar foods can still be eaten without worry, in moderation. The recipes of these special foods can be tweaked to make them healthier but still taste the same.6 Summer fitness and healthy living can be fun and easy as well as be maintained throughout the year.
Learn more about how to fit your fitness into daily life.