We are well into the summer season and many of us are already taking advantage of the sunshine and moving our daily activities outdoors. Whether it be the beach, the lake, or maybe just to our own backyards, there is no doubt that we are itching to get outside. Since having to follow social distancing guidelines, I have been able to keep up a consistent workout. While I am feeling accomplished, it is not unusual for me to fall out of my workout routine due to my days being packed with summer fun. This does not mean of course that summer fun can’t incorporate some fitness. The excitement of warm weather can be enticing, but there are many ways to enjoy the sunshine while staying active.
While there are limitless possibilities of outdoor activities, I think we can agree that there are a select few that really signify the summer season has arrived. When I think of summer, picnics and barbeques are some of the events that come to mind. Ladder ball, cornhole, and bocce ball are all low activity games but still provide the opportunity to get your heart rate up in a dynamic environment. If these games are not up to your speed, badminton, volleyball, and frisbee are a few other popular picnic games. These aerobic activities can improve your speed and agility. They require full-body movements that can help improve flexibility, coordination, and endurance.
What sounds more refreshing in the summertime than water. Whether it be the beach, the lake, or the pool, there are many opportunities that can give you a great workout while enjoying some earned vacation time. Beat the heat by going for a swim. Swimming is a great aerobic exercise that works all muscle groups and stimulates your heart rate. Other water sports such as kayaking, paddleboarding, and canoeing are also considered to improve your aerobic fitness as well as strength and flexibility. These three water sports are low-impact activities and can be done competitively or if you are just looking for a new, fun activity while on vacation.
Hiking and Biking
Going on a hike is one of my favorite things to do in the nice weather because not only does it provide a great workout, but it always affords a new and exciting view. At any difficulty level, whether it be a casual walk or if you wanted to tackle a high peak, there is a trail out there for everyone. Hiking provides a full-body workout that can help improve heart health and muscle and body strength. Many parks and trails offer the option of biking. Just like hiking, biking offers the same health benefits as well as improved posture and coordination. There are more than 400 national parks throughout the U.S. to explore, but it is not required for you to get outside and try something new.
Increased activity has been linked in reducing the risk of certain diseases and cancers, however, it is not just your physical health that can benefit from getting outside. While many of these activities can be done solo, they all leave room for company. Whether you grab another friend or participate in a group, taking part in activities with others can improve socialization skills and build healthier relationships within your everyday life. Studies have found that being out in nature can also boost your mood by reducing stress, calming anxiety, and lowering your risk of depression. So grab a friend and get outside!
Xx, Gillian Hamilton
SUNY New Paltz, Sigma Delta Tau