Summer is a great time for vacations, picnics and other fun activities to enjoy the great outdoors. Everyone knows how beneficial it is to get a certain amount of exercise, but occasionally we need a bit of advice to make the right choices. Paul Francisco, a highly regarded athletic trainer from Palo Alto, California, provided tips on some of the summer’s best outdoor workouts. While each type of workout allows people to get out of the local gym, office or home, it’s important for anyone, particularly first time athletes, to be in good health and physical condition. Those with any health concerns should consult with a medical professional before engaging in any new form of exercise. The following are five great summer workouts to get out of the gym and into the sunshine.
Playing A Sport
There are plenty of opportunities to get involved in an outdoor sport, such as soccer, baseball, beach volleyball and tennis. Major communities typically have an organized recreational sports program, open to athletes of all ages and fitness levels. An added plus is the chance to meet new friends, making it much easier to get involved in summer activities. For those who simply want to do things on their own or without having to join a league, there is an abundance of other outdoor recreational activities to engage in, such as golf, ultimate frisbee, sailing and roller blading.
Get In The Water
Swimming is an excellent form of exercise, especially for those who are new to this popular outdoor activity. Many fitness professionals say swimming is one of the best workouts because it works the entire body and utilizes more muscles than most other exercises. Coastal residents can consider taking surfing lessons, not only for the sheer pleasure, but for overall fitness and kayaking can be enjoyed in most any body of water. Other great ways to enjoy a lake or ocean are jet skis, water skiing, snorkeling and stand up paddle boarding. For those who prefer not to swim, it is still important to get in the water during summer months to cool off when temperatures climb into uncomfortable figures
From the majestic Appalachian Trail to the natural beauty of Yosemite National Park, the country is blessed with a vast array of scenic hiking trails. No expensive equipment is necessary unless the experienced hiker decides to take on a more challenging route or incorporates rock climbing of technical difficulty, but it’s always important to remain hydrated throughout a warm summer day. Although hiking seems moderate compared to other outdoor activities like cross country running or lacrosse, it’s aerobic exercise and helps build a more efficient cardiovascular system. Moreover, hiking or just walking is less taxing on the body, thereby reducing the risk of injury compared to most other types of outdoor exercises.
Another great exercise and a form of green transportation is bicycling. Any level of ability can enjoy a great workout by cycling more than just a few blocks. Although bicycle helmets are not required in in many states, adults and children should get in the habit of wearing a helmet. Bicycling primarily works the lower body, with hamstrings, quadriceps and calves doing much of the work, but it can also increase cardiovascular efficiency and upper body strength by strengthening the arms, shoulders and core. Parents can make plans with their kids to go out on a cycling excursion to make the exercise a complete family outing.
Putting The Body In Motion
Paul’s final word of advice is to never underestimate the power of simply putting the body in motion, even if it’s just taking the family pet out for a morning stroll. By taking the stairs instead of the elevator, people will burn more calories and oftentimes can reach their destination faster when elevators are crowded during peak hours. Office workers who sit for a good portion of the day can take a walk during lunch and others can complete routine chores by walking to the bank, grocery store or post office. Paul says the important thing to remember is to maintain a healthy and active life, through proper nutrition and daily exercise throughout the entire year.
Randy Yagi is a freelance writer covering all things San Francisco. His work can be found on Examiner.com.