The sunny weather and blue skies of summer give us all an itch to get outside and get moving. Whether we’re enjoying time in the garden, having a picnic, or heading to the beach, most of us are naturally more inclined to be active during warmer months. And summer is the ideal time to start some healthy fitness habits you can keep around all year long.
Why is summer so great for fitness? It’s easier to stay motivated when our fitness activities are fun and varied. That doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy fitness fun any time of year, but the sunny, welcoming weather certainly doesn’t hurt. Summer and fitness just go hand in hand!
Also, experts say that within 10 weeks of starting a new healthy action, it’s likely to become a habit that we will continue doing automatically.1 And with several weeks of warm weather ahead, it makes perfect sense to start now and let that summer fitness motivation carry on! Get started with these 5 summer fitness tips.
#1 Set Some Fun Summer Fitness Goals
The first step in any fitness plan is to set some goals. So, set fun fitness goals for summer and keep them approachable and attainable. Your goals should be specific, but not so difficult that they feel out of reach or burdensome. Small intentions go a long way. Set simple goals like being active outdoors for half an hour each day for three days a week, and commit to trying something new and different at least once per week to keep it fun!
Make a list of summer fitness activities you’d like to try and put a plan in place to make it happen! Or if you’d like to stick with familiar activities like riding your bike or walking, just pick a new route or destination each time to keep it interesting. Whatever you do, finding ways to mix it up makes it more fun, and getting your friends and family involved makes it fun too! If your goal is to get moving every day, it doesn’t matter how you do it, so be creative!
#2 Get Outdoors and Enjoy Summer Fitness Activities
In addition to the physical benefits of getting outside and moving more, spending time outdoors can have positive effects on mental health and wellbeing too.2 Researchers have linked outdoor activities like hiking to better concentration, creativity, problem solving and multitasking.2,3
Take advantage of the summer weather to try activities you’ve never tried before or that just aren’t an option when it’s cold out. Here are some fun outdoor activities to add to your summer workout routine:
Ultimate Frisbee: An average game lasts about six minutes and burns around 54 calories.4 You get to work on your eye-hand coordination while torching calories, but you’ll have so much fun you will probably forget that part!
Play Badminton: A 15-minute game of badminton burns about 77 calories, and that’s just while playing a social game!4 Those of you who are über competitive will probably burn even more. This is a great game to bring out at summer cookouts.
Beach Volleyball: Grab a ball and head to the beach with some friends! Beach volleyball burns about 136 calories in 15 minutes, or try water volleyball instead!4 It doesn’t burn quite as many calories (51 every 15 minutes) but it’s just as fun.
Mini Golf (or driving range): Mini golf is a favorite summer activity and it is family-friendly too. A 20-minute game burns 68 calories.4 Or hit up the driving range instead!
Paddle Board: This is a great whole-body workout. It works your core, arms, lower body—everything! How many calories you burn depends if you’re kneeling or standing and how hard you push yourself (take it easy at first!). Some experts have equated half an hour of stand-up paddle boarding to running six miles.5
Kayaking: Join a guided kayaking tour to get a new view of a local lake or river. Most kayak rentals are by the hour, and kayaking burns about 255 calories every 45 minutes.4 Bring a friend and get a tandem kayak to double the fun!
Roller Skate: Whether you opt for roller blades or go old school, roller skating is a fun outdoor activity for all ages and it torches about 240 calories every half hour.4 Just be sure to wear some protective gear in case things get a little bumpy!
There are also tons of ways you can sneak in more activity throughout your regular day to meet summer fitness goals. Think about how you can make your usual daily routine more active and use your muscles more often. Try taking phone calls outdoors and walk while you talk. Walk or bike to work, to get groceries, or to run small errands when you can. Or simply go for a walk on your lunch break.
#3 Find Summer Workout Ideas for the Whole Family
What’s better than getting outdoors for some fitness fun? Bringing the family along! Help keep your family healthy and active by planning summer fitness outings the whole family can enjoy.
Depending on their age, you can get kids involved in some of the summer activities listed above, but there are other activities that are perfect for family time. Pushing kids on the swings will work your arms, back, core and glutes, and here are 8 family-friendly summer exercise opportunities below that will give you a great workout.
8 Summer Family Exercise Activities
- Hopscotch: Don’t just be a spectator! You get to play too and enjoy a leg workout while getting in some quality time with fam.
- Tag: This classic game is great for getting everyone running around and giggling.
- Racquetball: Play in your backyard or take a racquetball set to the beach for pure fun and a cardio workout in the sunshine, plus it’s great for helping kids with coordination.
- Baseball: Head to a nearby park for some batting practice or improvise a small family game. Set a reward for hitting home runs!
- Pick-Up Soccer: Pick up a soccer ball to have some family fun. You don’t even need a formal goal, just use your imagination. Kicking a ball around in the backyard is a great summer workout.
- Water balloons: Fill up some water balloons on a hot day and have the ultimate battle in your backyard. Just be sure everyone helps clean up the balloon bits after!
- Swimming (or treading water): If your kids are good swimmers, head to the pool and take some pool games along too. Swimming and treading water are great exercises.
- Catch/Fetch: Let’s face it, pets are family too! Play a hybrid game of catch and fetch to get your pup in on the fun.
#4 Compete with Friends for Summer Fitness Motivation
If you have a wearable fitness device, competing with friends for the most steps, workouts or calories burned each week is an excellent way to stay motivated and it can be a lot of fun. You could also download a fitness app to your smartphone and connect with friends online for some healthy competition. Up the stakes with a prize! Maybe the winner gets free brunch the next weekend, or a self-care treat.
Researchers tested the effects of social competition on fitness motivation with 800 volunteers over a period of 11 weeks, splitting the volunteers up into four groups of 200 volunteers each, one of which was a control group.6 They tested the impact of individual competition, team support and team competition and used a fitness website to log their workouts with the same prizes awarded to each group for doing more activities. Unsurprisingly, the competitive groups prevailed, more than doubling the activity of the non-competitive team support group.6
So, find a fitness buddy this summer and compete either online or in person. You’ll have way more fun that way, plus it will help you stay engaged and motivated toward those summer fitness goals!
# 5 Enjoy Healthful and Fit Travel
Summer travel is something we look forward to all year long, and staying active and healthy while traveling can be even more fun than while you’re at home because there are so many new places to explore and healthy local food options to try.
So, make a game plan to stay on track while you travel! That doesn’t mean you need to plan every single aspect of your trip and take away the spontaneity, just do a little prep work so you have options. Commit to getting in daily activity and choosing healthier, nutritious real food options on your trip. Try booking a hotel that has a gym if you can, and do some research online ahead of time to find the best opportunities for sightseeing and exploring on foot. You could make a list of activity options to choose from and make a note of where you can rent bikes or kayaks near the hotel.
While you’re packing, put your workout clothes and shoes on top so they’re easy to get to because there’s nothing like getting in a mini-workout after arrival for shaking off the effects of travel. And since traveling can be dehydrating, especially if you’re flying, get hydrated before you leave and sip water during travel. Pack some healthy snacks for the trip too. Airplane food isn’t always the healthiest, and snacks bought in airports tend to be pricey.
Also, before you leave, give your gut health a boost by adding a probiotic to your daily wellness routine. There’s nothing worse than getting an unhappy stomach in the middle of your trip. Read Trust Your Gut Health: Build a Healthier Gut with Probiotics to learn more about keeping your digestion on track to help you feel your best all summer. You might also consider taking along a cleanse and detox supplement like travel-friendly apple cider vinegar capsules.
For more trips on staying healthy while you travel, read Jetsetter Wellness: Staying Healthy on the Go.
Take Care of Yourself with Downtime & Stay Hydrated
Staying active is important for your overall health and fitness, but downtime is important too. Give your body plenty of time to rest and recover this summer and stay hydrated for better health. Try unwinding with Mellow Mag at the end of an active summer day for a refreshing dose of magnesium to help your body relax and de-stress. It helps support healthy muscles and bones too.
And keep yourself and your family hydrated in hot summer weather by mixing up some irresistible water infusions. Read Water for the Win: Benefits of Water, Plus 5 Water Infusions to Try to learn about all the ways staying hydrated is important for your health, plus check out Infused Water Benefits for even more recipes your family is sure to love.
Enjoy Summer Fitness Fun
Have the healthiest summer yet by trying the 5 tips above for making fitness a part of your summer fun. Set summer fitness goals and explore a variety of summer activities to stay motivated, even while you travel. But remember to stay hydrated, wear your sunscreen, and get enough downtime to recover!
Do you have more ideas to share? Tell us all about your fun summer fitness activities in the comments below!
About Lindsey Toth, MS, RD
Registered Dietitian, Swanson Health Products
Lindsey is a nationally-recognized registered dietitian and nutritionist with a soft spot for pie. She empowers people to take charge of their health by finding the balance between the pleasure and nourishment in food. Her philosophy is that you should take care of your body because it’s the only permanent home you have. It’s what inspired her to pursue a career in nutrition and, ultimately, led her to Swanson Health.
1 Making health habitual: the psychology of ‘habit-formation’ and general practice. US National Library of Medicine. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3505409/ (Accessed 06/08/2018)
2 Biophilia: Does Visual Contact with Nature Impact on Health and Well-Being? US National Library of Medicine. National Institutes of Health. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2760412/ (06/08/2018)
3 Hit the Trail: Study Says Hiking Could Boost Creativity. Greatist. https://greatist.com/happiness/news-hiking-boost-creativity-121412 (06/08/2018)
4 Calories Burned From Exercise. MyFitnessPal. Based on a weight of 150 lbs. https://www.myfitnesspal.com/exercise/calories-burned/frisbee-ultimate-67 06/08/2018)
5 Top 5 Water Activities for Burning Calories. Men’s Journal. https://www.mensjournal.com/health-fitness/top-5-water-activities-for-burning-calories/ 06/11/2018)
6 Need Motivation to Exercise? Try a little healthy competition. CBS News. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/need-motivation-to-exercise-try-online-competition/ (Accessed 06/11/2018)
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.