Ah, summer! The great outdoors beckons with warm weather and longer days. Make the most of the season by turning your tired indoor fitness routine into creative outdoor workouts wherever you live or vacation.
Fitness at the Lake
Taking the family to the lake this summer? Great. Water is a perfect place to exercise in the heat and humidity of summer. Swimming is an obvious choice, says Patrick Ayres, MS, exercise physiologist at Lifestyle Management in Bloomington, Minn.
"Swimming or treading water is a great way to work the cardiovascular system," he says. "Lots of people go to the lake and get motor boats," he says. "If you are boating, go out to an area, stop the boat and anchor, and do some swimming."
Don't get caught up in the idea that the exercise has to be a consistent 30 minutes, says Ayres. "Recreational activities can also be exercise," he says, and doing something is better than nothing. Ten minutes or so a few times throughout the day will add up.
Kelli Calabrese, MS, an exercise physiologist, fitness author, and owner of Calabrese Consulting in Long Valley, N.J., recommends canoeing for an all-over body workout. Many lakeside facilities offer rentals and lessons, she says.
If you're unsure of your ability or if it's been a while since you've been in a canoe, Calabrese advises taking lessons. Just learning will be a workout in itself.
"It's great for the shoulders," she says, "but it's also great core, great obliques, and great back work." In addition, she says, the legs work as stabilizers.
Be conscious of muscle balance, she says. Don't always turn the canoe in the same direction. If you're circling the lake, reverse the circle. Row on alternate sides of the boat, or use a longer, double-sided paddle, which makes balancing even easier.
And enjoy the ride. "It's different, it's fun and it's a great way to see the lake, from a canoe," says Calabrese. "It feels good just to be out in nature and listen to the sounds of the water."