Summer weather beckons you to get outside and make the most of longer, warmer days. While lounging in a hammock sipping lemonade provides a relaxing respite, aim to infuse some of your days with healthy outdoor summer activities. Increasing your physical activity boosts your mood, helps manage your weight, promotes better sleep, supports heart health and strengthens your muscles.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, adults should aim for at least 150 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activity (think walking briskly) or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity (think jogging). Plus, the CDC recommends doing muscle-strengthening activities at least two days a week.
Forget the gym! Take advantage of beautiful weather and sun-soaked days to get active outdoors. Need some ideas for healthy summer activities? Fuel your summer fun with these ideas.
Go for a bike ride
For starters, explore your neighborhood, breathing in fresh air as you pedal your way through your local community. Then, find nearby trails at TrailLink and Adventure Cycling. Before you ride, check out these smart cycling videos from the League of American Bicyclists. No matter where you cycle, don’t forget to wear your bike helmet!
Get on (and in) the water
From swimming, canoeing, and kayaking to surfing, paddle boarding, and snorkeling, water-based fun should top your list on a steamy summer day. Search for local parks and waterways, whether that’s a lake, river, intracoastal, or ocean. You can also explore state parks. For instance, Colorado State Parks and Ohio Department of Natural Resources let you search for state parks within its borders. Don’t overlook national parks that might be within a short drive. You can find national sites at the National Park Service’s Park Finder and the more comprehensive Recreation.gov, which covers 3,600 sites and 600-plus million acres of public lands and waterways.
Hit the trails
No matter where you live, you’re likely near trails designed for walking or hiking. Not sure what’s around you? Many of the local, state and national park sites mentioned above will highlight the trails in each park. But you can also search on sites like AllTrails.com, where you can set parameters based on geographic location, trail length, elevation level and difficulty of terrain. Many urban areas often designate walking tours through the city, mapping out pedestrian friendly routes.
If you’re more of a thrill-seeker, consider adventurous activities such as BASE jumping, BMX biking, cave diving, hang gliding, jet skiing, kitesurfing, motocross, mountaineering, paragliding, parkour, rock climbing, sandboarding, skydiving or whitewater rafting. Need more inspiration? Check out 100 activities for adrenaline junkies at ExtremeSportsLab.com
No matter what fun summer activities you choose, remember to stay hydrated and wear sunscreen when you’re outside.