Staying active and healthy is an ongoing trend here in the 21st century. Unfortunately, many students either do not find the time for physical activity or even worse, decide that they cannot afford it. Many students nowadays associate "staying fit" with purchasing a gym membership or paying for fitness classes. While paying for such privileges can definitely help you stay active, it's time to resurrect a wallet-friendly way to stay healthy: By being outdoors. Fresh U presents eight ways you can stay active and healthy this summer.
1. Riding your bike.
Bike riding is great for building endurance and strengthening your muscles, especially the muscles around your hips and legs. I enjoy biking especially because I don't like jogging around town and this is another great form of cardio that lets me go places. Biking is also super cool because you can travel places faster without needing a bus or car. Helping the environment can't hurt either, can it?
I understand that most people go to the beach to relax and that many girls are careful to not get their hair wet. However, if you don't mind swimming head up breaststroke for some gentle exercise, or even swimming freestyle deeper out into the lake, why not do it? Swimming is great for exercise because it uses all parts of the body and it takes some serious endurance for a good workout. However, when swimming at a beach, watch out for any boats that may come by. Check any beaches for signs that may indicate where it's not safe to swim.
3. Get some friends together for a game of flag football.
I'm no football player by any means, but I've always enjoyed playing with my cousins when we visit each other. Running around on a field with your friends is great physical activity and it spices things up compared to jogging around the block. Flag football is great for inexperienced players because you don't have to tackle each other — instead, you just remove the flag or flag belt from the carrier of the ball.
4. Go for a walk on the beach.
Relaxing on a beach is calming for many. To add a dash of physical activity, simply go for a stroll in the sand. Science proves that since sand is such a soft surface, it takes more energy to walk on it. This engages the muscles in your feet, legs and back. I once had a friend say that frequent walks on the beach toned her calves nicely. Even just being in the sun is good for your health because it allows you to soak up some vitamin D. Make sure to take care of your skin here and wear sunscreen.
5. Go for a jog on a trail.
There's no need to drive out to some big hiking trail. Find a trail in your local area on a nice day, bring your running shoes and enjoy. Just like walking on sand, the uneven ground will force your legs muscles to work harder, adding a nice bit of conditioning to your body in addition to cardio. Bring some music or just enjoy the fresh air and all that nature has to offer. Spending increased amounts of time close to nature is also known to improve mental health, so this is a way to improve your health from more than one perspective.
6. Go for a canoe or kayak ride.
Again, here you have a chance to be close to nature on the lake. I've spent many years of my life kayaking, and I've got to say that I love it. Paddling increases your strength in the arms, back and chest while also improving cardiovascular fitness. Not everyone has access to a canoe or kayak, but if you're at a cottage or camping at a park, give it a try! You'll be pleasantly surprised.
7. Try playing tennis.
Many municipalities have parks and courts open to the public, so take advantage of them! All you need is a racquet, a ball and someone else to play with you. Tennis is great for improving your metabolism, reducing body fat and toning your muscles. The great thing about tennis is that anyone can play with any skill level. Why not pick up a racquet and give it a try?
8. Get a group of friends together for other team sports.
You could play anything — basketball, volleyball, soccer, etc. You just need a group of people who are willing to join you. Play on a street or on a court at the park. You'll likely spend a lot of time running around, which is great for your cardiovascular health.
Staying active outdoors can actually be a lot of fun if you choose the right activities. By that, I mean pick activities that you'll enjoy! Swimming isn't for everyone, just as flag football isn't necessarily something I'd be into. Find what works for you and go with it. Get a buddy to stay active with! Spending time outside can cultivate some of your greatest memories, so make this summer one to remember.
Lead Image Credit: jill111 via Pixabay