The summer months are the best of the year for fitness in many ways: The warmer temps allow for outdoor activities that can keep us from getting bored with the same old gym routine. Outdoor running, yoga, rollerblading, pickup basketball games…the list is virtually endless.
But sometimes it’s just too hot and humid for a comfortable workout outside. When the temps push into the 90s and the “real feel” is 100+, it can be difficult to motivate yourself to leave the comfort of the AC, or to wake up early enough to fit an outdoor workout in before the sun is beating down.
During the dog days of summer, keep cool with water-based workouts or water sports. Resistance in water is 4 to 42 times greater than air resistance on land, so you can give your muscles a great workout and burn serious calories while staying cool.
1. Swimming laps
Just 20 minutes in the pool can burn more than 250 calories—that’s roughly the same as running, but it’s a true full body workout. Swimming engages every muscle, while taking it easy on your joints. Warm up and cool down with more relaxing strokes like the breaststroke or elementary backstroke, and crank up the anaerobic activity with the front crawl or butterfly.
2. Water aerobics
One of the great things about water aerobics is that it’s easy to scale up or down the intensity based on your goals. If you’re recovering from an injury, or have a joint condition like arthritis, the buoyancy of the water enables low-impact movements because your bones and joints are bearing less weight than they would on land. Looking for something more intense? Add kickboards and water weights for additional resistance, tread water while doing upper body moves, or try out deep water running, which can burn more than 600 calories per hour.
3. Water skiing
Spending time at the lake this summer? Water skiing (or wakeboarding) engages your core in a big way because you’re pulling with your upper body and pushing against the water with your lower body. Just make sure you have a boat driver looking out for you, so you can increase or reduce the speed with hand signals according to your comfort level.
Yes, stand-up paddleboarding (or SUP) is technically on the water rather than in it, but we included it anyway because it’s easy to jump off for a quick dip to cool down and get back on. Paddleboarding burns about 250 calories per hour, and it’s also pretty relaxing while combining balance, strength, and endurance. Up for a challenge? Try paddleboard yoga!