Ways to Get Out and Exercise This Summer
Exercising is good for you — everyone knows that. Summer is the time of year for fun in the sun — something else everyone knows. Would it surprise you to learn that summer exercises outdoors give you the best of both — exercise and fun in the sun?
Prepare to be surprised because it turns out that exercising outdoors gives you the best benefits for every drop of sweat.
Benefits of Outdoor Exercising
Physical activity done in the great outdoors offers benefits that aren't available when exercising in a gym or at home. When you're outside, you get fresh air, exposure to sunlight (think vitamin D), and a natural boost to mental well-being that comes with exposure to nature. If you're working out or exercising outdoors, you're gaining quite a few health benefits.
Asthma, allergies, and other respiratory ailments can flare up when exposed to air pollution. The common school of thought is that being outdoors exposes you to pollutants, but it isn't as bad as most think. The concentration of some air pollutants is frequently two to five times higher indoors than outdoors.
Artificial lights can throw your body's natural circadian rhythm out of balance. Your body's internal clock is tuned to the sun, so you feel awake and alert during the day and get sleepy at night. Artificial light mimics natural light, but direct sunlight has 200 times more intensity than lights in a closed room. This means sunlight has more of an impact on your circadian rhythm than artificial lights.
Reduced Symptoms of Depression
Exposure to sunlight can ease depressive symptoms such as low mood and fatigue. Light therapy can help in the treatment of major depression and seasonal depression.
We're all exposed to overstimulation each day. Flashing computer screens, vibrating phones, and rumbling roadways all compete for our limited attention. This constant overstimulation can raise stress levels, and you may not even realize it. Immersing yourself in the natural world can provide a mental and emotional refuge where you can unwind and recharge. Spending time in nature and actively focusing your senses on your surroundings can help you relax without draining your mental or emotional energy.
Boost Your Immune System
Spending time outdoors encourages your immune system to function at its best. Exposure to non-pathogenic microorganisms normally found in nature gives your system "practice drills," which help your immune system prepare for legitimate, serious infections.
Improved Emotional Well-Being
Unwanted or painful emotions such as worry, fear, and sadness can diminish with time spent outside. It can also lead to a shift toward positivity by promoting emotions most of us want to feel more often: happiness, peace, and optimism.
With all these positive benefits just waiting for you outside, why are you still indoors? Hit the wide-open spaces for summer fun in the sun and get your exercise while you're out there. Just be sure to remember the sunscreen!
Summer Exercises To Ge You Moving
There are multiple options in the summer for exercising. You can get the workout you need through different summer activities that are far too much fun to be labeled as exercise.
- Inline skating. Break out your inline skates for a great summer workout. It is a fantastic way to target the lower body and abs while providing a low-impact workout on the joints, especially the knees. It's a great way to cross-train in the summer because it's not only fun but also dynamic and affordable.
- Nature hike. Make use of the natural landscape around you, especially if there are hills nearby you can attack. Hill workouts provide you benefits going both ways — uphill and downhill. Whether you're hiking or sprinting, it's a great way to bring the stabilizing muscles into your workout.
- Playground antics. A nice jog to your local park is an easy warm-up. Since your destination is the park, there's no need to bring along any equipment. You'll have the swing set, the jungle gym, and a park bench — that's all you'll need! If you're lucky, your park may even have outdoor exercise stations. Start with some step-ups on the bench, then transition to triceps dips. Use the swing to do some repetitive rows, then switch to knee raises on the bench. Rest, hydrate, reapply sunscreen, and repeat!
- Cycling. Outdoor cycling allows the cyclist to exercise at a higher intensity than those cycling around an inside enclosure. Even if there was an opening to the outside, those who were out and about in the natural surroundings demonstrated a higher intensity in their cycling experience.
- Swimming. Not only is swimming a wonderful exercise, but it also cools you down while you're doing it. This lets you work out for longer periods of time. You can make it more fun by participating in swimming competitions or do your swimming in natural bodies of water, like a local lake. Want to work on your flexibility? Sign up for a class on synchronized swimming.
- Gardening. If you have a green thumb, you can get a good workout by tending a garden. This usually starts with weeding and planting, which can seem meditative to some, but it provides a good workout. Be sure to work on your knees rather than risk back injury from bending over too much.
- Walking. Take the dog or a fellow family member out the front door for a walk. Or go for a stroll to rediscover your neighborhood. If you're using earbuds for listening to music or a podcast, be sure to maintain an awareness of your surroundings, especially any oncoming traffic. Walking is a time-honored method of exercise that never gets old.
- Stand-up Paddleboarding. If you're near a beach, take full advantage of the many fun ways to exercise there. Don't forget stand-up paddle boarding when making your to-do list. Paddleboarding lets you enjoy some calm time on the water while providing a great all-around workout. Remember your life vest and sunscreen!
Before you get started on your fun-in-the-sun workouts, hit Tiger Fitness for the gear you'll need and the supplements you'll want so you can make the most out of your summer outdoor exercise.