Now that the weather is getting warmer, it is time to head outside and work off some of the extra pounds you might have gained during the winter. However, exercise is not just about losing weight.
Physical fitness is important, as well. Here are some sports and activities to try this summer that should improve your total body conditioning.
When you play softball, you work your thighs, legs, and arms. Throwing, running, and catching can also burn a lot of calories and improve your heart health. You do not need a lot of fancy equipment to participate in this sport, either. Just grab a bat, a ball, and some new softball gloves and head to your local field with friends.
Whether you prefer biking on the mountains or the roads, cycling is a great way to get your whole body in better shape. You should feel your glutes, hamstrings, and quads working hard after just a few miles. Cycling has plenty of aerobic benefits, as well. For those with diabetes, these types of exercises can help improve insulin sensitivity. It may even reduce your risk of early death.
Best of all, there are bikes and trails available for people of all ages and skill levels. New riders should start with paved surfaces. Once you gain more experience, you can enter mountain biking or road races.
Swimming helps you keep cool during the summer months. It is also a fun way to strengthen your muscles and burn calories. In addition, swimming puts less pressure on the joints compared to some other summer activities. It is thus ideal for those with arthritic conditions or those who are recovering from injuries.
If you have mastered cycling and swimming and want to push yourself even more, research local triathlons in your area. These races combine biking, running, and swimming.
Triathlons work your entire body and all your muscle groups. They should also improve your anaerobic and aerobic fitness. There are several different types of triathlons, from grueling Ironman races to shorter sprint competitions.
5. Water Sports
Swimming is not the only low-impact summer sport you can try. Plenty of other water activities also build muscle and burn calories without putting too much stress on your bones.
Surfing, for instance, is a lot more strenuous than its laid-back reputation would suggest. Surfers use their cores and lower bodies to stay balanced on the board. Paddling out to sea also works the back, chest, and arm and shoulder muscles.
If you prefer paddling to balancing, there is a variety of boat-related sports to consider, from rafting to kayaking. Rowing works your heart and a variety of muscles. Stand-Up paddleboarding, meanwhile, should boost your core along with your upper body.
Advanced swimmers could also consider snorkeling. This activity lets you explore gorgeous underwater reefs while burning several hundred calories per hour.
6. Court Sports
Racquetball, tennis, and squash games give your core muscles a workout. They specifically target your quads, hamstrings, and glutes along with the muscles in your arms, back, and shoulders. As you race to hit the ball, you should also improve your agility, endurance, and balance.
Individuals of varying fitness levels can play these sports. Beginners can slowly hit the ball back and forth, while experts can participate in fast-paced games.
Golf is another sport that people of all ages and abilities can enjoy. You can work your upper body muscles by swinging the driver. You do not need a fancy bag of clubs to get the most out of this activity, either.
If you do head for the golf course this summer, do not hire a caddy or rely on carts. Instead, walk to each hole and from the tee to the green. Carry your clubs with you as you do so. This should improve your respiratory and cardiovascular fitness.
Do not spend the summer just lounging on the beach all day. Try one of the above sports, and you should feel your entire body getting into better shape.
Photo by Nathan Cowley