Ditch the AC and neon lights and get outside this summer (heck, every summer)! Outdoor activities are a fun way to stay fit, and they carry the added benefits of fresh air and vitamin D. On your own, with your family and friends, or through a league or club, available activities are abundant and for the most part, very accessible. If you don’t have equipment, you can usually rent some; in most cases, you should be able to source something new or gently used online via eBay, Kijiji or Craigslist.
Before you go outside, though, gear up for safety. Always wear proper protective gear such as helmets and pads. Apply sweat-proof sunscreen, cover your noggin and wear sunglasses. Last but certainly not least, stay hydrated — always carry water, or even sports drinks. Exercising on a super-hot day? Opt to get out early or late in the day; definitely avoid the midday sun.
Now, onto the fun. Try any of these fitness activities, many of which can easily be incorporated into your daily routine.
Commute to work on your bicycle; go on rides through your neighbourhood, or on cycle paths or country roads. Rent a bike while on vacation in a city or town (or, if you’re home and don’t have a bike yet): Many shops offer rentals and many major urban centres now have bike-share programs. If you want to purchase a bike, you can get a new shiny one or gently used one, or even a folding bike that fits under your desk. The options are endless. The other great thing about cycling is that you learn once and never forget, for real!
Walk, run or hike to commute, to explore or to clear your mind. Go alone, or with a friend or group. Create a lunch-hour walking group at work. Get off one transit stop early and walk the difference. If you don’t have means to freshen up at or near the office, walk home or in the evening instead.
Find an outdoor pool, a lake, a river, an ocean; take a dive and throw in a few laps. Take a stroke-improvement lesson, or if you don’t yet know how to swim, take full-on lessons. Join a swim team, water polo team, diving team, or synchronized swimming team. Try an aquafit class. All of these will keep your heart and muscles fit and keep you cool. Swimming is also a super–low impact sport; workout recovery is a snap.
Hit the court for a singles or doubles match. If you’ve never played, register for lessons.
Kick a ball around with your family, set up weekly matches with friends or join a league.
Get around town, get to work, run errands or simply skate with friends for fun. Don’t forget to pack some flip-flops in case you need to go indoors (or anywhere skates aren’t permitted).
Yoga or Tai Chi
In a park, a garden, in your backyard or even on your balcony: you can do yoga or Tai Chi just about anywhere! If you’re barefoot, be careful not to burn your feet on a yoga mat that has the hot sun beating down on it. Better yet, stay in the shade.
Bootcamp in the park
Outdoor public fitness classes are everywhere these days! Sign-up for a session or find drop-in classes.
Plan or participate in an office tournament or charity game. Make a date with golf buddies or a business date to schmooze a client. To get the most exercise, leave the cart behind and walk the course.
Kayaking, canoeing or sailing
Grab a boat of your choice, at a location or destination of your choice. You can go for a couple of hours or for a day or overnight trip, or even full-on camping with friends or family.
Choose to practice these activities daily, weekly or bi-weekly. Pick one or two you love the most and are more likely to stick to, or mix and match for variety. Try new activities whenever you can — you won’t know if you love it until you try it, right? Basically, go with whatever floats your boat and gets you moving. Let us know in the Comments what outdoor activities you plan on doing and trying this summer, then get outside and get to it before the summer is gone.