7 Ways to Stay Fit, Healthy and Exercise During Summer

Summer has officially begun— it’s time to dust off your summer clothes and embrace the longer, brighter days! Summer makes it easier to maintain physical health by staying active while enjoying the beautiful outdoors. You can get that boost of Vitamin D, and be freer to move in ways that benefit the body and mind.

Vacations and visits from out-of-town guests can make it more challenging to keep up a regular exercise routine. But these occurrences can also turn into opportunities to explore a new area with them, and to introduce your guests to your favorite hiking trails or summer activities.

Getting in shape for summer activities may require an extra warm-up, especially if you’re learning a new sport, plan to go back-packing, or just spending time in the garden. If it’s been some time since you’ve had the opportunity to challenge your body and exercise, or if your simply need some refresh your routine, continue reading to gather some ideas on what you can do, and tips to help you exercise during summer!

1. Swimming

Swimming is one of the first activities that comes to mind when we think of summer exercise. Not only is it a great way to cool off, but swimming has the ability to help increase physical strength, reduce body fat, get your heart rate up— all while reducing stress on the joints!2 If you’re lucky enough to live near a beach, you can go in the morning or late afternoon if you are looking to avoid full UVA and UVB rays.

2. Cycling

One way to squeeze in some extra movement during the beautiful summer season is by replacing travel by car with cycling. Studies on the impact of cycling on older adults have shown that cycling can support heart health, metabolic responses and cognitive & functional status. Not to mention, it has the ability to ease fear of falling and improve reported quality of living. It doesn’t have to be long— you can cycle for some errands that are closer to home! Even a quick ride through your neighborhood will get your heart pumping and tone your legs.3

3. Dancing 

Summer is a time to get out and move. Not only is dance one of the best ways to deter cognitive decline,1 but it helps you feel happy. Dancing is a great form of exercise because it is fun and can be done anywhere— even outdoors! It’s never too late to get involved in a class if you are looking for some new dancing tips.

4. Walking 

Exercise During Summer

As simple and straightforward as it sounds, taking a daily walk has been shown to provide a multitude of health benefits. Consistent physical activity, such as taking a daily walk, has the ability to support heart health, reduce anxiety/tension, promote weight loss, support a healthy blood pressure, and may help improve cholesterol profile. In addition, it has also been shown to potentially slow the process of osteoporosis.4 If you’re looking to set a goal, you can start small and build up to 1 mile per day!

5. Hiking 

Hiking is a great way to soak up the beauty of nature while supporting your health simultaneously. While the physical activity that comes with hiking can provide more obvious health benefits, believe it or not, there are also benefits to being in nature. Surrounding yourself in nature has the potential to support your immune function, decrease stress and blood pressure, and help restore attention.5 If you are worried about balance or support, you can bring along a pair of poles to help you on the steep areas and to maintain steadiness and confidence. Whether you’re a novice or an avid hiker, bring along plenty of water, food to ensure you stay hydrated!

6. Strength Training 

Strength training exercises have the ability to help build muscle, strength and preserve bone density when done consistently.6 This becomes increasingly important to keep in mind as a tip for health aging. To start, 2-3 times per week, you can try a circuit of front planks, regular body squats, and lunges. Since these are exercises that require no equipment, you can try them right in your backyard or at a local park!

7. Yoga 

Yoga has been a popular form of exercise for decades now, and for good reason! Yoga has the ability to support mobility in older adults, cardiometabolic health, sleep quality, and balance.7 Try starting with some basic poses outside in the fresh air, such as the triangle pose, the garland pose, and the warrior pose. You can also join a class with a friend! Depending on if you live on the coast, you may able to book a class right on the beach!

Summer Exercise Tips

Stay hydrated! Drink water before, during and after exercising. If you become thirsty, you’re already dehydrated. Listen to your body and be aware of signs of dehydration. This includes thirst, dry or sticky mouth, dry skin, headache, muscle cramps, dark urination, and dizziness. Signs of dehydration also include  lightheadedness, irritability or confusion, rapid heartbeat, rapid breathing, and extreme fatigue.

If you experience signs of dehydration, heat cramps or exhaustion, stop exercising. Sip water or another natural drink with electrolytes. Healthy drinks with electrolytes include: coconut water, smoothies, fruit juices, or electrolyte infused waters. Move to shade or indoors, apply cold, wet cloths to the neck, groin and armpits, or take a cool shower or bath.

Stretch! It is important to stretch before and after a physical activity. While stretching can seem like a daunting task, it has the ability to improve flexibility, circulation, decrease tension in the muscles, and most importantly, help to prevent injury.8

Don’t forget sunscreen! Choose a waterproof sunscreen of at least 50 SPF that won’t come off if you sweat during exercise or that last throughout a swim.

Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing. Avoid dark colors that attract and maintain the sun’s heat.

If you are a beginner to some of these exercises or it has been some time since you’ve tried them, start small and builds slowly. Building strength, muscle and stamina increases overtime with consistency. Don’t feel discouraged if your physical strength is not where you want it to be after the first session!

Enjoy the simple pleasures of summer.