walk on the beachI love summer!  Summer is the season that I get the most out of exercising.  I love being outdoors and in Michigan there are so many beautiful places to get out and exercise.  It’s relaxing to take long walks on the beach when it’s warm and watch the waves on the lake.  On my lunch breaks I often go to a local park on a small lake and walk on the walking path.  The path has flowers that smell so good that they brighten my day.  I read recently that exercising outside can significantly improve your mood.  It definitely improves mine.  I leave walking shoes in my car, so I can walk on my lunch.  There are times when I may not feel like walking, but I’m always glad when I do and I feel refreshed and ready to get back to work in the afternoon.

I also like to exercise in the pool in the summer.  When I do my pool exercises, my legs always get tight and toned.  One of the easiest exercises I do in the pool is the bicycle.  I use an inner tube around my waist (you can use any flotation device) and peddle my legs like I’m riding a bike.  I also add in some leg kicks.  These are easy exercises and provide a great low impact workout for those that have difficulty with other exercises.  Swimming is excellent exercise too and provides great cardio.  If you get tired quickly you can swim a lap and then do leg lifts, squats, lunges or other exercises in between.  This is a great example of interval training and is even better than simply doing cardio.

Riding bikes is another great summer exercise.  There are several bike trails in Michigan that provide safe, scenic places to ride.  Hiking is a fun family activity that can be a fun adventure that won’t even seem like exercise.  Living close to Lake Michigan gives me plenty of places to hike, like the dunes by the beach or any of the parks or woods in the area.

All the summer sports can help you feel like a kid again and you’ll have fun with your friends while giving you a good healthy workout.  Play soccer, baseball, basketball, or other sports with your kids to stay active.

Your health is more than just the physical aspects.  Getting out in the fresh air and enjoying nature can improve your mood, which is also important to your health.  There are so many things these days that cause stress and anxiety.  Getting outside and away from all the technology can reduce that stress.  We spend so much time on our phones, computers, ipods and other gadgets, that we use up our free time and wonder why our weekends go by so quickly.  Take some time away from those time wasters and get back to basics.  We are almost addicted to checking our email, Facebook, and searching the internet.  Many people spend more time on their computer and phone than watching T.V.  Watching television can also consume your time.  If you add up all the time you spend on your computer, cell phone, ipod and watching television, I’m sure you can spare 30 minutes a day doing something active instead.  Trust me, you’ll be glad you did.