What would it look like to meet your fitness goals this summer?
Fitting in time to take care of us and meet our fitness goals sometimes can prove challenging in the summer.
With changing routines, family vacations, and warmer weather, who has time to fit in us?
But we don’t have to give up completely on our vision of being fit and healthy.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 80 percent of American adults don’t get the recommended amounts of exercise each week. So this sets many of us up for health problems such as obesity and Type 2 diabetes.
The CDC recommends 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity per week. That’s 30 minutes per day, five days a week, of brisk walking, swimming, mowing the lawn. Or, they recommend 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity such as running or dancing per week.
And their recommendations also include strength training twice a week. Suggestions include using weights, doing heavy gardening, or even lifting and organizing around the home.
Meet your fitness goals by thinking about them differently
While routines are being shaken up anyway, summer can be a great time to try new forms of fitness. Exercise doesn’t have to be miserable or time-consuming. Perhaps it takes too much time in the summer to go to an exercise class, with travel to and from. But even stretching and moving for 10 minutes at a time, a few times a day, can add up to a great daily workout.
So which of these 12 suggestions for cardio and strength workouts might work for you?
Boost that Heart Rate
- Take a walk or go for a bike ride early in the morning or after dinner, and make it a family activity or one you use to catch up with a neighbor or friend.
- Rent a kayak or paddle boat, if you live near a lake or vacation near water.
- Hike in a state or national park. In my home state of NC, you can join in on free, guided hikes. Outdoor stores such as REI also offer organized events; call or visit your local store for information.
- Wade through a swimming pool or in a lake.
- Have a dance party. Children need to be moving, too, and this is a fun activity with them, particularly on rainy or very hot days.
- Do your chores! Household chores can count as aerobic activity. Just increase your heart rate for at least 10 minutes at a time. Painting, moving furniture, vacuuming and mopping, anyone?
- Find nooks and crannies of time throughout the day to do jumping jacks, to jump rope, or to do a few push-ups or sit-ups
Meet your fitness goals with aerobic and strength activities
Regular aerobic activity has proven to reduce body fat, lower cholesterol, lower resting heart rate and improve heart and lung function. So if you don’t make a cardio workout part of your routine already, try to set a mini-goal for this week.
If you’re trying to lose weight, strength training is one of the best ways to burn calories and replace fat with lean muscle tissue. Women will not bulk up as men do, because we have different hormones. So do not worry about that.
Consider body-weight workouts, using little to no equipment. They help maintain flexibility and strength and can be done most any where, at any time. For resistance, common household objects (even canned goods!) or light hand weights are helpful.
Body Weight Exercises for Strength
- Do 10 pushups when you first wake up in the morning, and another 10 before bed. Can’t do a full one? Do them from your knees instead of your toes. Just keep your back strong and straight.
- Bear Crawl your way around the house. Start on your hands and knees, inch up to your toes, and crawl by moving your right arm and leg forward at the same time, then your left arm and leg forward.
- Use an unopened 1-gallon milk or water jug to do bicep curls. Holding the jug in one hand at your side, keep your upper arm straight and bend at the elbow to raise the jug up. Do 10 per side. A gallon of milk or water weighs about 8 pounds.
- Wall-sit. Slide your back down a wall until your thighs are parallel to the ground. Knees should be above the ankles and your back straight. Hold for 30 or 60 seconds, or until your legs are jelly.
- Plank. Lie on your stomach on the floor. Prop up on your forearms and clasp your hands together in front of you. Rise up on your toes, keeping your back straight and tighten your midsection (core). Hold as long as you can. Try to increase the time each day.
So with the right mindset and a little thinking outside the box, this summer can be one in which you focus on your fitness, take care of yourself, and have fun.
Just Keep Moving!
What’s a new-to-you form of movement that you plan to try this summer? Do you struggle with meeting your fitness goals in the summer? What works for you? If you need accountability in this area, schedule a complimentary consultation with me to see if health coaching might benefit you.
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