When the weather is this good, it should be illegal to waste it hidden away inside, especially somewhere like the gym. The great outdoors is made for working out, getting fit, and having fun, and there is no better time of year to do it. From hiking and cycling, to tennis and golf, swimming and kayaking, the great outdoors is a better gym than any state-of-the-art, expensive work-out-zone. You just have to know how to make the most of it. So grab a few buddies, invest in the basic equipment, and away you go.
There is possibly no better way to explore the incredible countrysides and wildernesses on your own doorstep than by foot. It’s an amazing exercise for people who want something fairly low impact and low intensity, but it’s still amazing cardio and for lower body strength, especially if you push yourself. The key to your comfort and safety is getting the best equipment. For starters, you need walking boots which support your feet and ankles well, but which will also be waterproof, protect you from thorns and poison ivy, and which will keep you stable on uneven terrain. A good rucksack filled with water, high-energy snacks, and maps is also essential. Just don’t forget your sunhat and sunblock! The beauty of hiking is that you’re completely free to walk whichever way you like, to dictate your route, including its length, and to go at whatever pace you fancy. So take friends, take your dog, and take a picnic, or go it alone and really push yourself to your limit. Either way, it’s one of the best ways to spend time in nature.
With summer upon us, it’s time to brush off the court shoes and brush up your tennis skills. There aren’t many sports that so perfectly suit the summer months as tennis. Join a club and really hone your skills, or just have a casual knock about with your buddies. It’s great exercise too – the court might not look big, but once you’ve been bouncing around after the ball for ten minutes, you’ll really start to feel the effects. And you don’t even need a whole lot of kit – obviously, you’ll require a racket, but these can be hired for a small fee from most clubs if you don’t want to make the investment just yet. Otherwise, all you need is your workout gear, some clean sneakers, and a baseball cap to keep the sun’s glare out of your eyes, and you’re good to go.
If you’re an adventurous spirit, cycling is one of the best summer sports. Technically an all-year-round sport, it’s far easier to appreciate it when it’s not freezing cold or hammering with rain. It’s one of the best cardio exercises, and unlike hiking or running, you can cover a significant distance on a bicycle, without over-exerting yourself. So why not head out on your bike to a nearby town for lunch, or just cycle and see where you end up? It’s brilliantly liberating – you can literally go anywhere you like – and it’s fantastic exercise too.
Getting out on the open water is a fantastic way to enjoy the warmth of the summer, and being surrounded by water can even help you feel cooler when the heat gets a bit too much. Many people feel limited by the fact they don’t own a boat, mainly because they have nowhere to store it and no way to transport it, but an inflatable kayak is the way to go. When looking at inflatable kayak reviews, it’s easy to see why they’re growing in popularity. They’re durable, easy to pack and transport, and they’re comfortable too. So if you want to get out for a paddle, catch your own fish, or explore the islands, kayaking is the way to go. For safety’s sake, it’s recommended that you don’t go out alone, and it’s best to avoid the main heat of the sun at midday too, especially as there is no shade available on a kayak. An early morning or late evening paddle can be idyllic, though.
Rock climbing or bouldering are great all-year-round sports, but in summer they really come into their own. While climbing walls are perfect during winter, and it’s a great activity for both cardio and strength, all those skills are put into good use when you head out on the real cliffs in summer. It’s one of those activities which is far better in a group, and preferably with someone who is trained in first aid, as it can be dangerous. Taking part in climbing and bouldering with a trained instructor helps to guarantee your safety, but it also enables you to push yourself far beyond what you thought you were capable of. The training and security offered by an instructor make it far easier to push limits safely, and achieve things which you never knew you could. While having the right equipment is important, climbing as part of a club means a lot of equipment will be owned by the club, making it far less expensive. Owning well-fitting, good quality climbing shoes, however, is essential.
Is there anything better than an early-morning stroll around the green as the sun rises, before the heat of the day really takes hold? Golf is a sport which never went out of fashion, and it’s becoming increasingly popular with younger people even today. While it might not be the high-intensity gym alternative you were looking for, it’s still active enough to justify its name as a sport, and it’s a game of skill and passion, which explains its popularity. If you’re looking at getting started, head down to your local public green, or look for a beginner’s taster session at a nearby club. Once you’ve been round the holes once, you’ll be hooked.
Summer is the perfect time to get outdoors and get energetic, but you don’t just have to don your running shoes. From cycling to hiking, kayaking to golfing, there are hundreds of ways to make the most of the great outdoors and get fit in the process