For school kids and teachers, it may seem like there is so much more time in the summer months, making it a perfect time to introduce a new habit (like daily physical activity) into your schedule. Yet, the summer months seem to fill up quickly with vacations, festivals, cookouts, events, and trips.
This weekend in Indianapolis, there wasn’t any way for me to physically make all the great community events. Beautiful weather entices us to spend time outdoors, but are we getting enough activity to keep us on track with our weight loss goals and balance the extra calories we encounter at festivals, cookouts, and summer drinks? Here are three ways you can squeeze exercise into your summer schedule:
1. Walk – Parking at events that draw a crowd is always an issue, and nobody wants to pay event parking prices. When I lived downtown, friends would gather at my place and walk to events. A mile there and a mile back at a moderate pace can burn a couple hundred calories. Even if you don’t live in the midst of activities, you can park a mile or so away, burning calories and saving money. Just make sure to wear sensible shoes!
Rather than bathing in the sun, which isn’t good for your health, enjoy the weather by rubbing on your SPF and walking instead of lying. You may discover a beautiful new neighborhood, dining establishment with a patio, or local shop. Whether you bump into friendly faces or not, you are guaranteed to feel better than if you were lying around.
2. Hit the trail – Whether it’s a park, a trail, or country roads, most people have somewhere it is safe to walk, run, bike, or in-line skate. In Indianapolis, the Monon trail stretches through most of the city and beyond, and is a great place for a casual walk, a serious run, or socializing your dog. Not only is it an activity-friendly environment, but it’s encouraging to see so many different people at different levels of fitness participating in a variety of activities.
3. Bring on the games – There may not be any Summer Olympics this year, but you can still get competitive in your own backyard. Set up a volleyball or badminton net, pull out a soccer ball or baseball, or organize three-legged races or ultimate Frisbee at your next cookout or gathering. You might be surprised how much people enjoy participating in “cheesy” events. My parents host a Celtic-themed party each Fall, complete with the backyard version of Scottish games that are always a hit.
This is just a simple start. I would love to hear your ideas on adding more activity into a busy summer schedule. Go!