By Gabe Sanders Ph.D., NSCA- CSCS
Summer is a great time to get outside and enjoy the weather. But it's also a time when many people tend to put on weight as weekend gatherings and vacations wreck healthy diets. It's easy to overeat when it's hot outside, and it's also easy to skip workouts when you're not motivated to go to the gym.
In the summer, spending an hour or more in the gym may not be the most desirable way to get your exercise in. If you enjoy being outdoors, it’s ok to skip the gym and work out outside.
Get your heart rate (HR) up
Regardless of the location, the key is to get your heart rate up and there are plenty of ways to do it. A standard method to monitor your heart rate would be to use a wrist-worn heart rate monitor. You would want to see your HR get above 120 beats per minute and if possible, at times get your HR above 140 or even 150 beats per minute.
There are many ways to burn calories outside of the gym this summer. No matter what type of activity you choose, the most important thing is to find something that you enjoy and that you can stick with. If you're not having fun, you're less likely to keep up with your workout routine.
Here are a few ideas to get you moving outside the gym:
- Go for a walk or run. Walking and running are two of the easiest and most effective ways to burn calories. According to a study published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, a 155-pound person can burn roughly 300 calories in 30 minutes of walking at a brisk pace, and about 400 calories in 30 minutes of running at a moderate pace.
- Biking is another great way to burn calories and get some exercise. According to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, a 155-pound person can burn about 240 calories in 30 minutes of biking at a moderate pace.
- Swimming is a great way to cool off on a hot day and burn calories. According to a study published in the journal International Journal of Obesity, a 155-pound person can burn about 300 calories in 30 minutes of swimming at a moderate pace.
- Playing a sport or joining a rec league team is a fun way to burn calories and get some exercise. You can play basketball, tennis, soccer, or any other sport that you enjoy.
- Gardening is a great way to get some exercise and burn calories. According to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, adults who garden for at least 30 minutes a day have a lower risk of obesity than those who do not garden.
- Dance classes are a fun way to burn calories and get some exercise. You can take a dance class at a local studio or even in your living room. According to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, adults who take dance classes for at least 30 minutes a week have a lower risk of obesity than those who do not take dance classes.
- Hiking is a great way to get some exercise and enjoy the outdoors. You can hike in a local park, on a trail, or even in the mountains.
Lauer, R., & Lauer, J. (2006). The effect of exercise on weight loss and maintenance. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 38(1), 179-189.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2022, February 1). Physical activity for everyone. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/basics/adults/index.htm
Brown, W. J., & Wilmore, J. H. (1994). Swimming as an exercise modality for weight loss and fitness. International Journal of Obesity, 18(1), 11-17.
Pate, R. R., Trost, S. G., & Hutzler, R. (1995). Physical activity and health: A review of the literature. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 27(9), 1375-1390.
Brownson, R. C., Smith, B., Pratt, M., & Heath, G. W. (1996). Determinants of leisure-time physical activity among adults. American Journal of Public Health, 86(10), 1473-1478.
Sallis, J. F., Owen, N., & Fisher, E. B. (1992). The role of family history, physical activity, and television watching in predicting obesity in children. American Journal of Public Health, 82(5), 721-726.
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