You’ve got the first four covered, but don’t you want to feel great, look great and keep the energy high?
Then repeat with me: “Smile, move, add intensity, repeat.”
And why not?
As our schedules ebb and flow, and we hit the road for vacations and weekend getaways, why not keep energy high and your body feeling great by starting your day with a mindset to move?
But, in the lazy and even crazy days of summer, how does staying fit meld into summer fun?
Says Brian Vahjen, NASM Master Trainer and Senior Program Advisor, American Fitness, Spring, 2019, “I…encourage people to get outside to hike, bike, run, and kayak. I like to find cardio people enjoy.”
So, let’s keep this simple. To remind us that good health is a lifestyle to be lived every day, the American Heart Association and its Go Red for Women movement gives the best advice: “Smile more, move more, add intensity, repeat.” This is a great mantra for having fun this summer while keeping our health a top priority.
While summer means more travel, that also requires more sitting – oftentimes in the car, on a plane, or by the pool. But there are ways we can incorporate more movement into our days. For example, you can add these stealthy inflight moves to prevent DVT and other health issues while you travel. When you stop for a restroom break on the road, make sure you get out and move around a bit. I know it’s hard when you’re uber-focused on your book, but make a concerted effort to get out of the car and stretch your legs a bit. You can go in the store and wander the aisles (just avoid the impulse to buy all the junk food!), or you can do some simple stretches by the car. Then when you arrive, it doesn’t take long to get in a little exercise to get your blood pumping and your muscles working. Do you have 5 minutes to do cardio and work out your major muscle groups? The Nitrous Oxide Dump, AKA the 4-minute workout, is for you.
Whether you’re wasting hours at the DMV, counting the minutes of an airport layover, or standing in line at a theme park, just move! This includes simple tasks. If you’re just standing there, inching your way to the front of the line, take time to simply breathe. You can also incorporate arm and finger stretches as if you’re playing the piano, adding shoulder rolls and ankle circles.
Just hanging out? Take time to improve your balance. With your core tight and bellybutton “shrink wrapped’ to the backbone, stand on one leg, then the other. Work up to a count of five, then repeat.
If you’re in the airport waiting in line to check-in and find yourself holding your bags, imagine they’re dumbbells and do bicep curls. Heavy purses, beach bags, and suitcases on the same arm or side can do a number on your neck, shoulder, and hips, so switch it up and finish with the above stretches.
Finally, most hotels offer a workout facility or have a pool. Take advantage! If you aren’t used to the equipment in the gym, you can either learn something new or use the items you’re familiar with. Hotel pools are a great way to get in a workout while having fun, splashing around, and cooling off. If you’re staying in a place without either option, take your own workout items with you. My favorites are resistance bands that take up very little space in my suitcase, so they’re highly portable and easy to use.
Do you know that a water workout is one of the most effective women over 50 can do? While using the resistance of water to build muscle and burn calories in a low-impact manner, you’re strengthening bones and your heart. So, jump in, cool off, run in place, and jump, dance, twist, and swim in the water for a great aerobic and toning session. Even treading water in the pool or lake is a good workout. And, it’s all at your pace!
Are you at the beach? Being barefoot in the sand is a terrific leg workout, and you can grab a beach ball to stabilize as you squat or stretch.
If given the opportunity, go on an adventure with a canoe, kayak, or paddleboard. Even calm water gives you an arm, core, and leg workout, and you’re having fun at the same time! In addition, camping with family and friends gives you the opportunity to not only enjoy nature but to work out many areas of your body while enjoying a beautiful hike or nature walk.
There are so many activities, most of which you’ve done in your past, that can actually contribute to staying fit!
The opportunities to get up and get moving are seemingly endless. Last summer, we had to find creative ways to get in exercise while staying safe. This summer, take advantage of those newfound skills (and perhaps newly purchased camping gear) and get out and have some fun. Most cities have zoos, nature reserves, or hiking and biking paths. Go explore and get creative. You’ll find fun activities and hidden opportunities you’ve never dreamed of. And while you’re at it, take along your friends and loved ones. Get active and get fit together! But whatever you do…
Smile, move, add intensity, repeat.
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