What if there was something that would improve memory, increase weight loss, help your skin look better, protect against chronic disease, boost your sex life and the hormones that improve sleep and happiness all in one? You’ll be pleased to know this actually exists: it’s called exercise.
The magic dosage for optimal health is two and half hours to five hours a week of a mixture of cardio and strength training, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. If this seems like a daunting amount of time — especially when the weather is nice and you don’t want to be cooped up in a gym — we hear you.
But there are numerous ways to squeeze in quick workouts throughout the day — some that don’t even really feel like exercise. These sneaky workouts are especially good for those of us who have very important things to do now that it’s summer, like read books on the beach, take naps on the grass, and eat watermelon, corn-on-the-cob, and ice cream. Hoorah!
Read on for all the ways we can squeeze in exercise throughout a summer day!
Summer Exercise Easy
Wear Yoga Pants and Comfortable Shoes
If you can wear yoga pants or shorts all day, you’ll be more likely to intersperse household chores, errands, and time with kids with jumping jacks, planks, push-ups, and jogging up and down stairs.
If you work in an office, you may not be able to sport athletic wear or work up a sweat, but you can still stretch and take quick walks here and there throughout the day (leave the heels at home!) and slip into your workout gear on the weekend!
Walk Dog Exercise
Walk Your Dog
About 40 percent of dog owners do not regularly walk their dogs. Lace your sneakers, grab the leash, and go for a stroll with your best friend. It’s a good way to get in some exercise — and Fido will thank you.
Happy Hour Exercise
Meet for a Different Kind of Happy Hour
The next time a friend suggests meeting for drinks, suggest getting together for something more active instead. How about playing tennis or golf? Or taking a barre, Pilates, or yoga class together, or going for a walk or a hike? Exercise releases endorphins, which is sure to make you happy indeed.
Summer Exercise Tv Weights
Netflix and Lift
While you watch TV, use that time to lift weights (or soup cans). The show will distract you from the exercise while you tone up.
Summer Exercise Walk With Teen
Walk and Talk to Your Family
My 17-year-old-daughter and I recently went to a movie and were too full from our popcorn to sit in a café afterwards, as we’d originally planned. Instead, we ended up walking and window shopping after the movie for nearly an hour. Not only was this fun and energizing, it afforded us the ease of chatting side-by-side, which the Center for Parent and Teen Communication suggests is often an easier way for parents and teens to converse than face-to-face.
Summer Exercise Bike Ride
Swap the Car Ride for a Bike
For short trips, ride a bike instead of drive. Not only will you squeeze in more exercise, you’ll do something good for the planet as well.
Daily Walk Summer Exercise
Institute “Walking Wednesdays” over the lunch hour at your work. Grab a quick, healthy lunch and then walk with your colleagues instead of sitting indoors at your desk.
Summer Garden Exercise
Get Fit by Gardening
Gardening can increase strength, flexibility, and endurance — and it’s a great activity to do with children, who often feel pride over growing their own food.
Fitness Tracker Steps
Watch Your Steps
Always park as far away from the entrance of where you're going as you can and take the stairs instead of the elevator. The good news? You don’t need to aim for 10,000 steps. According to a new study, 4,400 steps per day is the lucky number.
Exercise While Cleaning
Work Out While You Clean
Make cleaning the house a workout by scrubbing vigorously, vacuuming quickly, squatting when you pick things off the floor, etc. A 150-pound person will burn about 200 calories per hour doing housework — and if you crank up some good music, the chores might actually seem fun!
Summer Backyard Fun
Have Active Fun with the Kids
Take your kids or grandkids to a park, the beach, or a pool. In the backyard, play catch, or Frisbee, or have a water balloon fight. If they’re not too old to be embarrassed: Dance Party!
Summer Exercise Something New
Have a “Try Something New” Day
Once a week, do something active you’ve never done before. Complete a new exercise routine on YouTube, explore a state park or trail you’ve never hiked before, or try a new class such as Tai Chi, Barre, SoulCycle, Hot Yoga, or Indoor Climbing. Our brains — and bodies— love novelty.
Exercise With Groceries
Strength Train with Groceries
Make grocery shopping a workout by walking to the store instead of driving. Then use the grocery bags as “weights,” and alternate between doing biceps curls, triceps curls, and rows as you walk home.
Summer Lake Exercise
Jump in a Lake
Or pool, or ocean... If you’re lucky enough to live near a body of water, make use of it. Swim, canoe, kayak, or march in the water or sand, lifting your legs as high as you can. Just don’t forget the sunscreen!
Summer Exercise Apps
Download Motivating Apps
There are many apps that you can use to get in short workouts here and there throughout the day — at home, in your backyard, or at a park or beach. Here are few highly-rated ones, all of which are free:
- The Johnson & Johnson Official 7-Minute Workout
- Workout for Women: Fitness App
- Daily Workouts - Exercise Fitness Routine Trainer
Kelly Dwyer is a novelist, playwright, and freelance writer who loves having exercised.