Summertime is here again, and that means beautiful weather, beach vacations and weekend getaways. Perhaps you’re bored hitting the gym every day and want to take advantage of the glorious sunshine and fresh air? Look no further. We’ve got six summer sports that will not only allow you to enjoy the outdoors, but also help get you into great shape!
1. Stand-Up Paddle Boarding: If you combine surfing with kayaking, you’ve got stand-up paddle boarding, also known as SUP. SUP is the fastest-growing water sport in the world, with gear sales up nearly 200 percent in the past year. “The reason so many people are drawn to stand-up paddle boarding is that it’s an amazing full-body workout that improves your core strength, cardio fitness, balance and flexibility with almost no impact,” says Kahala Reyes, a surfing and SUP instructor in Waikiki.
Stand-up paddle boarding is a total-body workout and people of all ages and fitness levels can do it. Unlike surfing, you don’t need waves to paddle board, and very calm, flat water is best for beginners. “The beauty of paddle boarding is that you can do it on an ocean, lake and even a river,” says Reyes.
Your first instinct when paddling might be to focus on your arms, but you’ll want to focus on your core instead. “Beginners may not realize that you won’t last long by using your arms more than your core,” Reyes says. “That’s because your core is a bigger and stronger muscle group. With the water constantly changing, you have to be mindful about keeping your midsection engaged for better balance and endurance.”
Easy stand-up paddling in calm water at a typical casual pace can burn 305-430 calories per hour, which is nearly twice the calories burned on a moderate paced walk.
What you’ll need to get started:
–A stand-up paddle board and paddle: Both can be rented or purchased from a sports store.
–PFD (Personal Flotation Device): The U.S. Coast Guard classifies stand-up paddle boards as vessels, so PFDs should always be worn.
–Proper clothing: For cool conditions where hypothermia is a concern, wear a wetsuit. In milder conditions, wear shorts and a T-shirt or bathing suit – something that covers you and can get wet.
–Leash: Typically sold separately, a leash tethers your SUP to you, keeping it close by if you fall off. Your SUP is a large flotation device, so being attached to it can be important for your safety.
2. Golf: Golf might not be the first sport to pop into your head if you’re focused on getting fit, but it all matters in how you play. “Studies have shown that if you nix the cart and caddy, a round of golf is equal to or better than spending 30 to 40 minutes on the treadmill,” says Sacramento, CA golf instructor Casey Allred. “Swinging the club builds stability in the legs, hips and core, and increases flexibility in the shoulders,” Allred adds.
But, there are mental bonuses, too. “While the rest of your life might be a blur of commuting, meetings and e-mails, golf is a good excuse to get away from it all for a few hours. Then, there’s the scenery, which beats an hour in the gym any day.”
Playing solo? No problem. Going to the driving range works your upper-body muscles, intensifies your focus and concentration, and can potentially burn 102 calories every 30 minutes. And best of all: going to the driving range can help you improve your game and lower your score on the golf course!
3. Swimming: When you think of summertime, you think of swimming. And what better way to exercise, keep in shape and beat the heat? Swimming is a near-perfect exercise system for the whole body, requiring a balance of cardiovascular and muscular endurance, using the majority of the body’s muscular system.
“From toning your core to speeding up your metabolism, swimming sculpts your back and tones your arms without having to pick up a weight, making it a perfect activity for anyone regardless of age,” says personal trainer and former competitive swimmer Lauren Williams. “It’s very easy on the joints and a great way to burn calories.” An hour of moderate swimming can burn around 500 calories, which revs up your metabolism, continuing the burn well after you’ve stepped off the deck.
Make the most out of your swim workout. The workouts are endless when it comes to swimming in the pool. Beyond all four strokes (back, breast, freestyle, butterfly), you can kick, pull, or even use the wall for pushups. For a twist on exercising in the pool, try a water aerobics class, which incorporates moves such as jogging, kicking, jumping, squats and dance movements that help to burn fat and build endurance.
4. Beach Volleyball: Beach volleyball players all seem to have pretty impressive physiques, which is unsurprising when you think of how much running, jumping and throwing the sport involves – which is exactly why it’s a great summer sport.
Gigi Fernandes of Santa Monica, CA has been playing beach volleyball with a group of friends for the past 3 years. “It’s a great full-body workout,” says Fernandes. “Beach volleyball uses every part of your body, from your arms, shoulders and chest to bump, spike and serve the ball. You use your legs to run through the sand and squat down to reach the ball, and you have to use your core to stay balanced while you do all that. I love it because you can be outdoors, be with friends, and it doesn’t feel like working out.”
Because of the work it takes to move through the sand, beach volleyball is a great calorie burner. With all the running, jumping and diving, you can expect to burn approximately 484 calories per hour. In an average game, you work your cardiovascular system and tone your core, glutes, lower back, thighs and calves, but in a low-impact fashion. You can also tone the muscles in your upper body: pecs, shoulders, arms and upper back. The benefits aren’t just physical: beach volleyball is also a great way to improve hand-eye coordination and boost mental agility.
5. Basketball: Who doesn’t love the fast-paced game of basketball? And it’s even more enjoyable when played outside on a nice sunny day. Playing basketball involves short sprinting motions, longer runs down the court and sudden changes of direction to maintain the control of the ball, together with a whole array of jumping techniques for scoring baskets. Basketball can require and encourage great athleticism, but it can also be a fun way to pass a summer evening, even if you can’t do a lay-up. You can practice solo, play one-on-one or play with a group of friends.
Depending on how hard you’re running up and down the court, basketball provides a moderate to vigorous intensity workout. “One hour of basketball can burn more than 600 calories,” says middle school basketball coach Timmy Reeves of Escondido, CA. “Dribbling, passing and shooting improves coordination, while the more minutes you play in a game, the more physical endurance you build. Playing basketball also increases muscle in the arms, legs and stomach. Plus, there is nothing like playing with a group of people for fun, even if it’s just with a group of friends at a weekend get-together.”
6. Cycling: Cycling has a lot of great advantages as a sport. You can do it alone or with family or friends, and it’s fairly cheap. Don’t want to commit to investing in a bike? No worries! You can borrow from a friend or rent one from a local bike shop. One of the best things about cycling is that you can map out where you want to ride, whether it’s in the city, countryside, or in areas closer to home. Anywhere you choose to ride is free!
We typically think of cycling as being mainly a leg-dominant sport, which it is, but the upper body and core are also involved in stabilizing the hips and pulling on the handlebars to ascend long climbs. So you can get a pretty good workout with no more equipment than a bike!
According to NutriStrategy, a company that specializes in health and fitness products/services for consumers, a relaxing bike ride (less than 10mph) burns more calories than an easy walk (2mph), which works out to 281 calories versus 176 calories per hour. Challenge yourself by powering your way up hills and pushing your speed over 10mph, but even keeping to a leisurely pace is a great way to supplement your lifestyle and stay in shape.
By Rochelle Marapao