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Summer is here!
It’s official! The days are getting longer. Memorial Day has come and gone. Summer is finally here and I am a happy camper! Summer is my favorite season for so many reasons. Sunshine is a proven mood-booster due to its ability to increase serotonin in your brain. (That’s a happy chemical!) In Michigan it is cloudy more often than it’s sunny, so I look forward to the sunny season and the guaranteed mood boost I get every year.
Summer is also the easiest season for me to get fit and be active. When the thermometer hits 70 degrees, I’m outside and moving almost constantly! Since exercise produces endorphins in your brain (more happy chemicals!), I feel great both physically and emotionally after a workout. In turn, I feel more motivated in my everyday life (thank you dopamine–happy chemical number three!). Summer equals happiness chemical trifecta.
Although I enjoy a good gym workout as much as the next person, I like that summer allows me to be more creative in the way that I stay fit. Here is my list of my Top 5 outdoor activities that keep me fit and happy in the summertime!
Running is about as simple as it gets, and I’m all about keeping life simple! All I need is a good pair of shoes, my FlipBelt, and my iPhone and I’m out the door! We live in a small, quiet neighborhood with lots of great side streets to run. One thing I love about running is that I can tune out and enjoy my favorite pump up music while I explore the town. Good music helps me keep an even pace and takes my mind off my exhaustion. I use a FlipBelt to hold my phone instead of an armband because it makes it way easier to change my music or check my stats on Runkeeper. It fits around my waist like yoga pants (bonus!), and keeps my phone, keys, and ID safe. You can get your own FlipBelt on Amazon here! I wouldn’t consider going for a run without mine!
Not much brings back the childhood joys of summer like bike riding does. My husband and I love to go for a leisurely bike ride on summer evenings after work. It is a fun way for us to catch up on our days while being able to enjoy the fresh air and sunshine. We have an ice cream shop a few blocks from our home, which you know I can’t resist! Biking is a surprisingly difficult workout. I don’t remember being sore and exhausted after biking as a kid, but as an adult I usually feel my muscles burning for days (in a good way!)
Hiking is a relatively new fitness activity for me. My husband and I are planning several huge backpacking trips over the summer. In a few weeks, we will be roughin’ it in the mountains of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan with our dog. Hiking is a bit more of an expensive fitness routine to start, but so worth it. Once you have all your gear, you’re prepped to walk and hike all over the place! I love hiking because it puts me in the heart of nature. I love the sounds and the smells of the forest. Hiking will physically and mentally challenge you in ways a lot of fitness activities just can’t. If I need to get out of my head and into the moment, I turn to the trails.
2. Disc Golfing
Disc golf has become way more popular in the last several years! I am not the most coordinated person and have never tried my hand at traditional golf. Disc golf plays by the same rules as regular golf, but with frisbees (discs) instead of balls. One of my favorite things about disc golf is the community. I meet a lot of interesting people out on the course, all bonded by the love of the game. When I first started playing disc golf, I didn’t realize what a workout it can be. It works your chest, back, and arms. Not to mention, you’ll likely get in several miles of walking in if you play all 18 holes! Disc golf is another game that allows me to be out in nature and enjoy the scenery.
My husband and I bought kayaks for ourselves last year and it was one of the best gifts we ever bought ourselves! Not only is kayaking a killer workout (it will destroy your arms, chest, back, and abs in the best way), it is incredibly meditative and peaceful activity. I love the diversity of the sport. I could kayak up the river, pouring sweat and out of breath, or I could leisurely float through the canals where nature lies untouched. You’re also likely to encounter some obstacles while you’re yakkin’, which means there is some mental challenge. I’ve dealt with river spiders and attack swans all in one day, and yet each weekend I’m itching to get back out on the water.
What are your favorite summer fitness activities? Do you prefer traditional workouts or do you get creative? Leave me a note in the comments!