Now that summer is here, most students have the same thoughts racing through their heads: No more tests or 6 a.m. wake ups. In essence, freedom.
But while students absolutely should take time to enjoy their summer break, it’s also the perfect time to be active outside. It’s easy to lose weeks to social media, video games, or binge watching the latest season of a TV show, but summer can be even more entertaining. It’s the perfect opportunity to take advantage of the weather, and get out and move.
Don’t be intimidated by running
If you’re not sure where to start, running is the perfect exercise. It’s probably one of the easiest and best forms of exercise. It’s something you can do anytime, anywhere; just pick a trail, sidewalk, or field and run.
If you’ve never run consistently before, start with short distances and gradually increase the length as you build endurance. Using this distance as a starting point, try to increase the length of your run every two weeks for noticeable improvement.
Hit the pool
Maybe running sounds like torture to you, and you need a better reason to brave the sun and humidity. Well then there’s no better solution than a trip to your local swimming pool. Not only is swimming a great cardio workout, but it’s a great way to keep cool and socialize with friends.
Just like running, see how many laps you can swim before you get tired and try to do a little better each time. If you are feeling like a pool champion, you can even try relay races with your friends.
Simple weights can go a long way
However, student athletes need more than simple cardio workouts to stay competitive throughout summer, so consider purchasing a pair of dumbbells. Weight lifting is one of the best ways to burn calories, keep metabolism running high, and build strength.
Free weights can be used for dozens of different lifts to target a variety of different muscle groups. Not only can these weights be used to strengthen your arms, back, and legs, but unlike large weight machines, free weights force core muscles to stabilize you as you lift. A set of 10 – 20-pound weights should be enough for most student athletes who are not already involved in a lifting regimen with their team.
The reality is though; athletes don’t need fancy weights, a gym membership, or a private pool to keep in shape. Go back to basics with old-fashioned calisthenics in your own back yard if you don’t have a lot of time or money. Focus on these four standards to get the best possible workout: push-ups, sit-ups, squats, and burpees. If you can do 50 of each exercise without stopping, you’ll be in decent shape—and probably ahead of your peers.
Find a friend
Sometimes it’s not finding an exercise you like that’s the hard part, but making the time or following through that’s the problem. To make it easier on you, try working out with a friend at a regularly scheduled time. Whether it’s lifting together, racing, or running drills with each other, working out with a friend can help keep you honest.
You’re less likely to skip training or slack off during a run if someone’s there to push you. It’s also incredibly easy to spend the summer sleeping in until noon instead of working up a sweat. To combat this, force yourself to wake up at 9 a.m. or earlier, and start your day off with a routine workout. If you can’t bring yourself to workout bright and early, set aside an hour every day to workout with your friend.
Finally, if you’re just not the type of person to make a habit of exercising, then play a pickup game with friends. It doesn’t matter if it’s basketball, football, capture the flag, or ultimate frisbee; as long as you’re outside and moving.
Besides, the more fun you have, the more likely you are to continue to keep active. Exercise doesn’t have to be work, and summer time is when you’re supposed to hang out with friends.