By Sarah Hunt, AZFB Communications Intern
Let’s be honest, exercise is not the most fun thing to do. It can feel like a chore or something we have to do to stay healthy. While we do need it, it doesn’t have to be like pulling teeth. Check out some of these fun ways you and your friends and family can work out this summer to stay healthy and feeling your best!
Jump Rope and Hop Scotch
I remember having tons of fun in elementary school learning how to jump rope double-dutch style. What we don’t realize as kids is how good of a cardio workout we get when we jump rope! This is why we always had those “Jump Rope For Heart” contests in P.E. Hop Scotch is another good workout you can do with your kids that helps their balance, agility, flexibility, and cardio.
You’re already in the pool with your kids, why not swim some laps while you’re at it? Swimming has a bunch of great exercise benefits: “ [it] keeps your heart rate up but takes some of the impact stress off your body. [It] builds endurance, muscle strength and cardiovascular fitness, helps maintain a healthy weight, [a] healthy heart, and lungs. [It] tones muscles and builds strength. [And it] provides an all-over body workout, as nearly all of your muscles are used during swimming,” says Better Health.
Whether you’re at the beach by an ocean or a lake, or if you just want to set up a net in your backyard or even play at a local park, volleyball is a great way to have fun while exercising. Because it is a team sport, it’s much easier to be motivated to go do it since you have friends playing with you who make it fun. And bonus: you guys actually get pretty good at it after playing it often enough!
There are a good amount of urban trails in Arizona that are open 24/7 for walking or biking. Even biking on your beach cruisers around your neighborhood is a nice way to get out of the house during the pandemic. If you are adventurous, try mountain biking! You will need to get up right before sunrise if you pursue this one though, it gets way too hot to be outside in the summer unless there is a body of water involved!
This is another fun activity that requires you to be an early riser if you want to do it! Hiking is one of my favorite physical activities, because it’s like walking but a little more difficult, without the exhaustion of running. And it always promises great views! Try going on a day trip and hiking near a body of water so you can jump in and cool off. See my earlier Fill Your Plate article, 8 Best Places to Hike and Swim in Arizona, for some ideas of where to go!
Wakeboarding, Wakesurfing, Water Skiing
The catch with this one is you have to either have a friend with a boat or have a boat yourself. Once you’ve got that, you’re good to go! Most people know what water skiing is so I will skip the description of that one. I will say that it definitely requires practice and coordination though! If you haven’t been wakeboarding, the easiest way to describe it is that it is basically snowboarding behind a boat. You have a board that has boots made to be in water attached it. You put those on and fasten them, then jump in the water with the rope handle. The boat puts until the rope lets out all the slack and its taut. Once you’re ready, the boat speeds up and you get up on top of the wake, able to go back and forth and even getting some air from jumping when hitting the wake!
Wakesurfing is more akin to surfing, but is easier in my opinion because you have the help of the boat and a rope to get up on the wave. The boat usually has a setting to create a big, short wave behind the boat. You get in the water with your wakesurf board (which is shorter than one meant for the ocean) and put your heels up on the edge of it while holding on to the rope. When the boat hits the gas, you get up, and after some practice, you can let go of the rope and surf back and forth on the wave all on your own! This is my favorite boating activity because there are an endless amount of tricks you can learn to do, with or without the rope.
These activities motivate me to go to the gym so I can strengthen the muscles I use when wakeboarding and wakesurfing!
Walking Your Dogs
I’ve heard you can walk your cats, but I don’t think any pet is as easy or fun to walk as a dog. They are great hiking and walking buddies, especially if they’re a medium or large dog. Because of the fact that they always like to be in front of you, if they’re a bigger dog the just pull you up the mountain! No, this is not some form of animal cruelty, it is just in their nature. They enjoy leading the way. It makes hiking easier for you and they love it. It’s a win-win!
Find more fun ideas for exercise on Fill Your Plate’s blog!