Easy Health and Fitness Tips for Summer
It’s summer, and the temperatures are rising! That means fun in the sun, extra light in the evenings, cookouts, and other seasonal activities. As you enjoy your summer, though, it’s a good idea to keep health and fitness in mind. Along with the seasonal fun, specific health concerns belong to summer (such as sunburn).
You can also do fitness activities in summer that you can’t do at other times of the year.
So helping you enjoy your summer and keep it healthy and safe, here are some health and fitness tips for the season.
It’s certainly true that there are healthful benefits to getting some sunlight exposure. Your body needs the sun to make vitamin D and get adequate levels; you need to be exposed for at least 15 minutes without sunscreen. However, sunscreen is very important to avoid burns and skin damage. So, a healthy compromise could be to put your sunscreen on after you’ve been outside for 15 minutes.
Summer is the time for fresh garden produce. I said these healthful foods to be most nutritious when they are in season, so stock up at your local farmer’s market. You also might consider freezing or preserving some of summer’s bounty. It’s a great boost to your health to load up on fresh produce. After all, they implicate fruits and vegetables in everything from cancer prevention to a healthy heart.
Now is a wonderful time to get into physical activities like hiking, biking, swimming, and pretty much any outdoor game or sport. Keeping fit is more important these days than ever, with more opportunities to sit in front of a screen. Take advantage of summer’s warm temperatures and evening light to get out and get physically active.
Another health and safety tip that bears mentioning is heated. Depending on your location, summer can get dangerously hot. Be aware of the signs of heatstroke:
- Copious or increased sweating
- Paleness, loss of color in the face
- Feelings of dizziness, light-headedness, or feeling faint
- Nausea or vomiting
- Muscle cramps
Always get to an air-conditioned room or car as soon as possible if any of these symptoms are present. When you are outside, have access to shade so that you don’t get overheated.
In the summer, you’ll need to have a drink of water handy much more often than in the cooler months. It’s a good idea to take water along when you are doing anything in the summer, from running errands to hiking. Staying hydrated helps ward off heat exhaustion and keeps your body in balance.
Fun Summer Activities That Keep You Fit
Are you looking for some fun summer activities that will also keep you fit? It’s easy to get lazy in the summer, but it can be much easier to get (or stay) in shape if you combine fun with exercise.
Here are some ideas for fun summer activities that keep you fit.
Do you have a stable nearby where you can pay for a ride? Or perhaps you’d like to take up horseback riding lessons. No matter how you choose to get on a horse, it’s a fun activity that can strengthen core muscles and burn calories. Just make sure you stick with your experience level and have a guide with you.
Outdoor water fun is a summer thing. Depending on the activity, it can be an inexpensive activity to get started with, and entire families can participate. The most basic way to enjoy the water in the summer is to find a pool and go swimming. Not a swimmer? Then enroll in water aerobics classes, or use a kickboard to navigate the pool. Here are some other water fun activities for the summer:
- Jet skiing
- Water skiing
No matter what water activity you choose to engage in, ensure that safety is always a priority.
In a quiet neighborhood with level streets, you can enjoy rollerblading on any warm summer evening. If you don’t have those skate-friendly surroundings, go to a track or park. Meet up with friends to keep it fun, and it won’t feel so much like exercise. Consider pads and other gear for optimal safety and comfort.
From Frisbee to horseshoes, lawn games are a time-honored way for people to “take exercise.” You might even get the neighborhood involved in a friendly competition. Here are some of the more popular lawn games:
Summer sports like baseball, tennis, and volleyball are fun for all ages. You don’t have to enroll in an official team or competition (although that’s fine!); you can play these sports for fun at your local ballpark or rec center. If you’ve done no summer sports before, make this the year you learn. Sign up for lessons and learn a new skill while getting fit.
Gardening and Yard Work
Do you normally hire someone to do your yard work? How about gardening – if you don’t have a garden, why not start one this year? These summer activities can burn some calories and strengthen muscles. Digging, mowing, trimming, hoeing, and so forth all provide a decent workout.
This summer, why not work fitness into your vacation? A fitness vacation is a time away from home that focuses on physical activity. There is something physically active scheduled for every day of your trip. This may mean that you come home more fit than when you left!
Summer Fitness Hiking and Walking
One of the most enjoyable ways to get fit this summer is by hiking and walking. There are ways to make your walk or hike more beneficial and successful.
Here are some benefits of walking and hiking and some tips for success.
Walking and hiking have all kinds of health benefits. Here are some of them.
- Cardiovascular health – Experts say that brisk walking is one of the best forms of exercise for the heart. The key is to keep up a vigorous pace the whole time you are walking (if you are beginning, it’s a good idea to slow down to catch your breath if you feel winded). If you keep up the pace, your heart gets a continual workout.
- Muscle toning and strength – Walking uses a lot of large muscle groups. If you like, carry weights or strap on wrist weights to help tone your arms. Also, adding weight is said to increase the number of calories you burn while walking.
How can you make the most of your walk? What’s the best way to have a successful hike? Here are some tips.
- Bring water – It’s a good idea to bring water with you on the trail or along the road where you’re walking. You may not get thirsty, but it’s far better to have water and not need it than need it and not have it! You can slip water bottles into a small backpack or use clip-on water bottles for your belt.
- The right shoes – You’re much more likely to have a pleasant walk if you have the right shoes. For hiking, one of the best types of shoes looks like a cross between sneakers and boots. For walking on level ground, walking shoes are less boot-like and more like sneakers. Having the right shoes means less stress on your joints and feet.
- Location – Choose a location that you enjoy walking in. If the entire family is in on the hike, try exploring a local park or forest. If you are going for a walk in a neighborhood, go on a “house tour” and talk about which houses you like and why. It can help boost motivation when you are looking forward to the scenery. Another possibility is for your family to meet with friends on a local walking/running track. It can be a fun social time and fitness time.
- Challenge – As your family gets more in shape, challenge yourselves. Try a trail with steep hills or rocks to climb over. Try walking further in the neighborhoods or do another lap or two on the track.
Fitness Activities for Your Kids This Summer
There’s an emphasis on kids getting fit these days, and during the summer months, there are no school-based programs to keep kids active. If you’re looking for ideas for fitness activities for your kids this summer, here are some suggestions.
First, make sure your kids stretch and warm-up before engaging in these fitness activities. And second, help your kids choose activities that are fun and active, not overly competitive. Here are some activity ideas.
When you were a kid, it’s likely that you hopped on your bike and rode in the neighborhood in the summer. Although things are a little different now, bike riding is still a great way for kids to be active in the summer. Ensure they always wear a helmet and not ride on the road or street if they are under ten years old. Once you’ve found a safe place to ride, help them stay motivated by inviting other kids and family members to join; make it a regular thing!
Send your kids outside when the weather is good, and invite friends over, too. Make a point of the day’s activities being oriented around movement, such as playing in a sprinkler, playing horseshoes, or enjoying a game of badminton. Like bike riding, try making this a regular event so that your kids will get regular exercise.
Whenever safety permits, encourage your kids to walk to their favorite places, such as a friend’s house or store. An adult can accompany them if need be – it’s good for adults to stay active in summer, too!
Chances are, you did this as a kid, too. Maybe a couple of days a week could be “pool days.” Meet friends at the pool and spend the day being active in the water. Make sure your kids wear sunscreen and that there is adult supervision. An adult can get in the pool, too, and teach the kids fun games like water polo.
Many kids used to spend a long time on the playground jumping rope. It can be done when school’s out, too! Why not have a friendly neighborhood competition with other kids to see who can jump the longest or the most jumps? Kids can learn fun jump rope games like Double Dutch and all those great jumping rhymes and songs.
Consider enrolling your kids in a martial arts class. Not only will they get physical activity during class, but they will get exercise at home practicing their forms.
With a little creative thought and preparation, your kids can be fit and healthy this summer.