10 Ways to Stir Up Summer Fitness

Shannon Jones, Take Control Health Coach

As we enter the hottest days of the year, it’s a great time to look at your summer fitness plan and make adjustments that will ensure your continued success. Hot weather may ruin your motivation, so it’s helpful to look at your plan and switch things up. New ideas and strategies can invigorate your routine and inspire the motivation needed to finish the summer and make it to cooler fall weather.

These tips are a few ideas to consider, and may help you think of your own ideas as well:

  1. Try a different route – whether you walk, run, bike, or hike, trying a different route is a fun way to refresh your routine. New scenery can be a nice distraction, making the time go quickly.
  2. Track your progress on a map, trail or app. Apps like Map My Run, Nike+ Run Club, and Human track your route on a map and show you your results and statistics afterward. Some of these apps nudge you to complete your goals, and they also allow you to connect with others who are using the app to create leaderboards, or see who’s exercising nearby.
  3. Take a park fitness class – check with the Park & Recreation Department or various health clubs in your town. Some are offering outdoor group fitness classes that are socially distanced. Invite a friend, or meet new friends there.
  4. Outdoor yoga – summer is short in Montana, get out and enjoy it while you can. Take your yoga mat and tablet outside to a shady place in your yard and try a free online class. I like Yoga for Courage  or 18-minute Outdoor Yoga Flow
  5. Calisthenics (Bodyweight exercises) – remember these from gym class?! We can all benefit from more strength training and calisthenics can be done anywhere any time. Squats, lunges, push-ups, sit-ups or crunches, jump rope, and thrust-squats – now called burpees. Mix up your regular walk or cardio exercise by switching two days a week to bodyweight exercises like these.
  6. Add music or update your playlist – finding some new fun music or shuffling what you have can bring a new spring to your step.
  7. Try an audiobook or podcast – listening to a book or podcast while you exercise can make the time fly by. If you’re like me, you have a stack of books you’d like to read, and no time to read them. An audiobook helps you blaze through your titles. Podcasting has exploded lately, and you can find every topic under the sun, including selections with your favorite celebrities.
  8. Swim! There is no better way to beat the heat than to jump in a refreshing lake or pool. Find your local pool’s lap swim time and put it on your calendar. Everyone who loves swimming wishes they went more often.
  9. Try a new activity – tennis, pickleball, bicycling, disc golf, regular golf, basketball – there are many opportunities to exercise while having fun. What have you always wanted to try, or used to enjoy that you’d like to do again?
  10. Stadium stair climb – do you miss watching sports during the pandemic? Reminisce about your favorite games while you workout at the stadium where they should be playing. Whether your local high school, college, or minor league baseball stadium, as they sit empty take the opportunity to do a weekly stair climb. If it’s hot outside, try an indoor basketball stadium or public building that is air-conditioned.

When exercising outdoors in the summer, take precautions to stay safe. Stay hydrated, drink more water, use sunscreen and proper clothing. Know the best time to exercise outdoors – early in the morning with the crisp air; or at the end of the day when the sun is lower in the sky and it starts to cool off.

Enjoy our beautiful Montana summer, it will be over before we know it!