Shakespeare nailed it when he said, “Summer’s lease has all too short a date.” I can’t wax as eloquently as old Will about my favorite season, so I’ll just say that one of its best qualities is the refreshing break in routine it provides. One downside, however, is that with vacations, late nights, sleeping in because of those late nights and other routine busters, summer fitness regimens often lay as dormant in summer as my kids’ textbooks.
After much trial and error, I’ve hit upon a two-step approach to keep my fitness from disintegrating in the free-for-all that is summer. It goes like this:
- Keep on moving. First, don’t beat yourself up for relaxing your usual workout schedule. Instead, embrace the truth that all movement counts. Garden. Walk your kids to the playground—and maybe even try the monkey bars. Jog along the water’s edge at the beach. Rent bikes to explore your vacation destination. Walk around the airport instead of sitting at the gate. It all adds up.
- Squeeze in strength-training. That said, I’ve found that re-entry into fall workouts is brutal if I’ve completely omitted strength-training in the summer. My solution: This quick-hit, full-body, no-equipment workout that can be done anywhere. Case in point: I recently did it during a mountain vacation in a guest room with 18 inches of space between the bed and the wall. It took all of eight minutes, and I was able to get on with my day. Note: You can modify the workout to your taste by substituting particular exercises with favorites of your own and by doing multiple circuits if you have the time and ambition.
The Anywhere, Anytime Workout
Do each exercise for 30 seconds. Rest for 10 seconds, and then move on to the next exercise. If you don’t have a way to keep track of the time, do 10–15 reps of each exercise. To stay toned, slip the workout in three to four times a week throughout the summer.
- Body-weight squats. Keep your weight on your heels and your chest lifted.
- Push-ups. For an easier version, do on your knees or against a wall. For more of a challenge, lift one leg off the floor; switch legs halfway through.
- Towel rows. Hold one end of a towel or sturdy sweatshirt in each hand. Lift the towel straight in front of you at chest level, arms fully extended. Pull outward with each hand to create tension in the towel; keep pulling outward throughout the exercise to maintain tension. Pull the towel toward your chest, bending your elbows outward. Then extend your arms to return to the starting position.
- Alternating lunges. Switch legs with each rep. Drop straight down, so that your front knee stays directly above your ankle and your torso stays upright. Stop when your front leg is parallel to the ground. Advanced version: Jump as you switch legs.
- Pike push-ups. Get in a down-dog position. Bend at the elbows, and lower your upper body until your head nearly touches the floor. Push back up to the starting position.
- Plank. Lie down on your stomach and lift up on your elbows; rise up on your toes. Maintain a straight line from your head to your heels. For a tougher version, lift one leg off the floor; switch legs halfway through.
Kellee Katagi is one of those strange souls who actually enjoys working out for the sake of working out. She’s spent most of her 20-plus-year writing and editing career covering fitness, nutrition and travel, as well as outdoor sports ranging from skiing to spelunking to street luge (yes, that’s a thing).