10 Summer Workout Ideas

2010-07-02 09.27.00Now that the sun is shining and the days are longer, it’s time to transition from winter to summer workouts.  Here are 10 ways you can get out of the gym and enjoy the great outdoors:

1.  Dust off Your Bike.  If you’re not already experiencing the joy of wheels, you may be missing out.  Biking is not only fun, it’s a fast and green way to get around. Our family bikes to Graeter’s Ice Cream to earn our dessert.

2. Try Trail Running. If you normally run roads, try nature trails. Trail running engages all the senses. The feel of the earth under my feet, hearing rushing water, the smell of mud and the coolness under a tree canopy all feed my soul.  And the varied terrain works your muscles in a new way. Just ditch the earbuds — so you can get the full experience.

3. Be Cool at the Pool.  Swimming is a great non-impact way to get a workout and stay cool on those steamy summer days.  If you fortunate enough to live near the ocean, bring your boogie or surf board and practice balance.

4. Play at the Park.  Explore your local parks with a run or walk.  Then take your routine to the playground for a strength training routine.  Climb the monkey bars for upper body work; challenge your core with the swings; walk the balance beam; find different platforms for push ups; or climb the jungle gym.

5. Register for a Fun Race.  Non-competitive fun races are a blast.  Our town recently had a Zombie Run where some runners are designated zombies and chase other participants to the finish line.  Or you can try the Glo Run, a nighttime race where runners wear glow-in-the dark accessories.  How about The Color Run — where volunteers splash you with washable colors at different points of the course? These races are a great way to have fun with fitness without worrying about your time.

6. Stage a Boot Camp.  Invite your friends or neighbors and have your own boot camp outside.  Set up four or five stations with different exercise challenges — like a push ups, jumping rope, balance challenges, medicine ball toss or ladder drills.  Set a time for each station and rotate through for a few sets.

7. Play with Your Kids (or someone else’s!).  With all the electronic distractions these days, many kids are not getting outdoors.  You can be the example and get them moving outside again. When I was a kid, we played kickball and softball, hiked through the woods, and built tree forts.  Start a game of kick the can or basketball this week.

8. Grow a Garden.  Digging and harvesting take a lot of work.  But gardening is rewarding because you not only get exercise, you get the benefit of growing something healthy you can eat.

9. Try a New Sport.  Have you ever kayaked down a river?  That’s one I want to try this year.  If you’re social, how about taking tennis lessons?  Many cities offer intramural sports for adults.  My adult daughter April has been on soccer and ice hockey leagues locally.

10. Walk Everywhere.  Hang up your car keys and walk instead.  Do you have a drugstore a mile or two away? Or a lunch place you’ve been wanting to try? Save gas and get fit with foot power.

Hope you found a few ideas — or even one — that you’ll try this summer.  Be sure to share your experiences in my blog comments!

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