As with so many others in the Pacific Northwest, we Vancouverites struggle to stay committed to our weekly workout regimens when the sun is out. While this only happens for two to three months out of the year, the distractions come up fast and furious during this time, and can range from simply relaxing on the patio with friends to blowout picnics to volleyball at the beach. So when it comes to staying in shape this summer, here are some critical tips to keep in mind.
First and foremost, always make sure you have a fitness friend. Not only will this create some accountability, but you'll also feel like you're also getting a healthy dose of some social time. The only thing better than one fitness friend is a bunch of fitness friends, so I would also recommend group fitness classes to scratch that social itch and build that during-workout accountability.
Second, it's very easy to get in the habit of doing the same types of exercise over and over, such going for a run or taking hike or a bike ride, especially when the sun is out and the weather is nice. These are great ways to release endorphins, but they are also all high-impact exercises that put pressure on our joints. Mixing in low-impact workouts will give your joints the rest while keeping the muscles engaged. These low-impact workouts will also improve your performance when doing your other exercises. So find a beautiful spot in the sun to practice you yoga or barre exercises -- and remember to wear sunscreen and stay hydrated!
Third, take advantage of longer days and earlier starts. Begin your workouts earlier in the morning, or try doing them a little later at night. With the sun out for a longer period of time, your mind will be more receptive to working out both earlier and later than you may be used to. Whichever time you choose, creating consistency in your schedule will help you stick to your routine and ultimately achieve your fitness goals.
Fourth, always make sure to stretch before and after your workouts. Often we forget to stretch in the summer because we feel as though our muscles are already "warm enough," due to the heat. Make sure you don't fall prey to this type of thinking, and remember that stretching not only prevents injuries but also helps us to create the long lean muscles that we love oh-so-much. Stretching also helps to metabolize blood sugar, which reduces fat storage, and improves coordination by reducing unintentional jerky movements and allowing us to move with efficiency and grace.
Finally, set your summer goals. Are you looking to run a fall marathon, take a backpacking trip or simply feel good baring more skin? When you have a set goal that you are working toward, your workouts become more meaningful.
Hopefully these five tips will help you build and stick to your exercise routine, even during these distraction-filled summer months!
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