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One of the first words associated with summer is relaxation. Lounging by the pool, lying on the beach or soaking up the sun on a boat come to mind. However, there are tons of outdoor summer activities that are also incredibly good for you and can go far towards helping you achieve your health and fitness goals. And for some inspiration, we asked Power for Life Fitness instructors and trainers about their favorite healthy summer pastimes. Read on to find out what you could be doing this summer!

“I love picking fruit at local farms, gardening and doing outdoor yoga.” — Kristina E., yoga instructor

Why she’s smart: When it comes to fun in the sun, many of the activities don’t feel like exercise. That’s certainly the case when it comes to picking fruit and gardening. You’re focused on the task at hand and don’t realize how much you’re squatting, bending and maneuvering, working all the muscles in your lower body. What’s more, working in the garden has been shown to relieve stress, increase confidence and improve immunity. 

“Paddle boarding and kayaking on the Potomac are the best!” — Isabelle K., yoga instructor

Why she’s smart: On steamy summer days, water activities are must—and kayaking and paddle boarding are tops when it comes to fitness. Pushing the water with your oar activates the deltoids, pectorals, biceps and triceps to sculpt the upper body. Standing or kneeling on a paddle board also engages the core to flatten the belly, plus help you avoid back pain and eliminate balance issues. 

“Swimming is definitely a big one for me.” — Megan H., boot camp instructor

Why she’s smart: Quite simply, swimming is one of the best total body workouts out there, not to mention a superb way to cool off on a hot day. Plus, the buoyancy of the water makes it significantly lower impact than running or walking, offering a great way for people with muscle and joint pain to get an intense cardiovascular workout. 

“I love hiking in the parks near my apartment!” — Carla M., yoga instructor

Why she’s smart: Hiking is great aerobic exercise, but the perks go far beyond that. Being in nature and focusing on its beauty and wildness have been proven to lower stress and improve mood. As a weight-bearing activity, hiking also helps strengthen bones and improve bone density. And as you can see, you don’t need to travel to a mountain—a stroll through a nearby park will yield all the benefits!

“Cycling on the canal trail and listening to music at community concerts are so much fun.” Monica B., boot camp instructor

Why she’s smart: Cycling is another great warm weather alternative to running or walking since your speed will generate a breeze to cool you down. Pedaling engages the glutes, hamstrings and quads to lift the butt and slim the thighs, while maintaining stability on the seat calls on the abs to help prepare you for swimsuits. And sure, listening to music at a concert in the park may be a sedentary activity, but if you’re enjoying time spent with friends or loved ones you’re improving mental health and fostering happiness and good vibes.

Do you have a favorite good-for-you summer activity? Comment on our latest Instagram post @powerforlifefitness and tell us what it is! 

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