Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Fit for Summer

I live in a city that is most famous for three things: coffee, grunge music and rain.  Yes, it is true, it does rain most of the year here in Seattle.  When the sun does decide to shine (usually sometime in August), the Vitamin D deprived citizens get out and celebrate like it is Christmas.  Unfortunately, as we know, celebration and overindulgence tend to go hand-in-hand.  

I have always had a tendency to gain weight in the summer. All of the sunshine, tropical cocktails, barbecues and ice cream make me feel like summer is just one big uninhibited vacation.  I mean, what would summer be without family trips to the local Dairy Queen?  Who cares that a medium cookie dough Blizzard contains almost my entire calorie allotment for the day?

I do, I care, I just don’t think about it.  I have learned to associate summer with bratwurst, baked beans and Blizzards instead of bikinis, bikinis and BIKINIS!  Luckily, I know this about myself, and every summer I work to re-train my brain to make healthier associations.

One of the things that I have done is to associate summer with fun outdoor activities.  I fill my summer calendar with things like 5K running events and hiking trips instead of food festivals and barbecues.  There are so many ways to stay active in the summer, we just need to think like kids again and learn to play!

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Water Sports- Kayaking, canoeing, rafting and stand up paddle boarding can be a lot of fun and provide a great arm workout.  If you don’t want to invest in the equipment yourself, there are often places that will rent equipment to you at a decent price. If none of the above sound good to you, just splashing around in the pool with your kids/friends can burn a lot of calories.  For a girlfriend’s birthday one year we went to a local water park.  We had a blast (even though we were at least 15 years older than everyone else), and burned a lot of calories in the process.

Running Events- From 5K walks to full marathons, there are running events all over the country in the summertime.  Running events are really gaining in popularity, and communities have really started to come up with some fun themes for different races.  I have never done one, but I have heard that Color Runs can be a fun group activity.

Outdoor Sports-  Instead of getting your friends/family together for a barbecue, try setting up a group sporting event.  A friendly game of volleyball, badminton, softball, tennis or ultimate frisbee could be a lot of fun.

Alternative Transportation-  When the weather is nice, it is a lot easier to ride your bike, walk or take the bus instead of driving.  My husband has been using my car for the past month, and I have lost two pounds just from the additional walking.

Partner Exercises-  Instead of meeting a friend for a happy hour drink, catch up on gossip by going for a walk, run, hike or bike ride together.  The summer is also a good time for creative outdoor dates.  A couples game of tennis, or a row in a canoe could be a fun bonding experience.

Outdoor Bootcamp-  I have seen a lot of advertisements recently for outdoor group fitness classes.  This is a great way to stay in shape, but these classes can get expensive.  I save money and do my own plyometric routines in the park (Self magazine has some great ideas for workout routines).

Hopefully this gives you some ideas for staying active this summer.   Next we need to think about eating well.  I think that avoiding the potato salad, hot dogs, ice cream cones and margaritas is a topic for another day :). 

Until then, get out and enjoy that sun!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for helping me to be mindful of this. Great ideas!