Don’t get me wrong, I love a good 30-minute run as much as anyone, but there are so many ways to exercise in the summer that don’t involve pounding your feet on the pavement.
Let’s try switching up your exercise routine with some of these activities that feel less like a workout and are more about enjoying the great outdoors.
Her Campus spoke with fitness expert Kelli Calabrese about the awesome benefits of these exercises and how to get started!
*Calories based on 30 minutes of activity, for a 130 lb individual. Calculations from Everydayhealth.com
*Biking at 10 mph burns about 175 calories
Biking is a perfect example of a calorie-burner where you decide how hard you want to work. For a low-impact, casual exercise, grab a group of friends and instead of driving to your favorite summer hot spot, bike there. It can be a nice change of pace to the usual car ride, plus you’ll be enjoying the sun and getting a workout in the process!
It is also a great way to be environmentally conscious. Biking, not driving, to a friend’s house or your summer job can save money on gas and get you in shape.
For those of you looking for a real workout, grab a bike and head out for a bit of a longer ride. Unlike running, biking isn’t quite so hard on your knees so you’ll probably be able to bike much farther than you can run.
When biking on the road, there are lots of safety precautions to consider.
“Wear padded shorts, have reflective gear on your bike and your clothing, ride with a group for visibility, obey traffic laws, signal when turning, wear sunglasses and sun screen, and be visible to cars at all times,” says Calabrese.
Don’t forget the number one safety tip: wear a helmet!
According to Calabrese, cycling works quadriceps, lower back, and hamstrings. It can also improve your heart and lung efficiency, and reduce your risk of cardiovascular and other metabolic diseases.
“Cycling is primarily an exercise that challenges the cardiovascular system, but take one look at Lance Armstrong and there is no doubt that just about every major muscle group in his body is engaged during a bike ride,” says Calabrese.
If you like the woods, or would rather be a bit more shaded than on the sweltering blacktop of a road, mountain biking could be just the thing for you. Riding over all those hills, rocks, and roots can give you quite the thigh burn. It’s a bit more difficult than riding on pavement, so make sure you’re ready for an intense workout.
According to Calabrese, the best places to cycle are on the shoulder of a road during low traffic hours, a rural area, or an area without too many stoplights, stop signs, or pedestrian traffic.
If you are just beginning cycling, Calabrese recommends choosing the area wisely.
“It’s important to build up confidence and have as few distractions as possible,” she says. “Consider a more remote area with roads that are newer or free of debris and pot holes.”
Check out bikeride.com for cycling events in your area.