For many, summer is the only time when they can find the opportunity to get some exercise because of the longer holidays or break from school or work. It will, therefore, be too late to achieve that “beach body” if one only starts exercising during the onset of summer, when everyone else is already hitting the sand and sea. But as Mark Twain once said, “The secret of getting ahead is getting started.”
Getting started, for some, means enrolling in a gym, only to give up exercising when one becomes busy again. Not only does this negate whatever fitness gains one has achieved over the summer months, but it also translates to financial loss because of unused gym access that one may have likely already paid for in advance.
However, keeping fit this summer need not be expensive or structured. There are several activities that can be participated in for free (or for a minimal fee) or are not restrictive in terms of having fixed schedules and can, therefore, be incorporated in one’s daily routine.
- Walking around the village or neighborhood – Not only does it improve cardiovascular health but it also gives one the opportunity to rediscover one’s surroundings or to simply relax after a stressful day.
- Riding a bike – Depending on one’s fitness level or skill, one can simply bike around the neighborhood, go to parks with bike trails or join cycling clubs that hold long distance events, usually to suburban areas or neighboring provinces.
- Using free outdoor gym equipment - At the Quezon Memorial Circle, for example, walking, jogging or biking can be complemented by these equipment that exercise the arms, thighs and legs.
- Scouting for sports clinics – As part of their public service activities, many socio-civic or non-government organizations hold free sports clinics for kids, teenagers, or young adults during summer.
- Trying out free gym classes- To boost marketing and promotion, some gyms offer trial dance or aerobics classes, day passes or other freebies to those who “bring a friend along” to encourage more clients to enroll.
- Joining a “liga” – Like sports clinics, basketball (or sometimes even soccer or baseball) leagues or competitions are mounted by local governments or NGOs in the “barangay” or village.
- Playing outdoors– For a kid, nothing is more pure and liberating than being able to play outdoors without having to use electronic devices or expensive toys. Not only will playing outside put a kid’s “excess summer energy” to good use, it can help him or her appreciate traditional Filipino games such as “patintero,” “tumbang preso,” “luksong tinik,” etc.
The kinds of exercise that can be done during summertime are not the only considerations when planning a fitness program. Overall health and safety should be factored into the plan as well. Among the concerns that should be taken into account are:
- Staying protected – Being active doesn’t mean one has to forego safety. Wearing safety gears like helmets, elbow or knee pads, rash guards, etc. not only make one “look the part” when engaging in outdoor sports like biking, skating, swimming, or surfing, but also guarantee a layer of protection in case things go rough.
- Keeping hydrated– Drinking enough water that will keep the body hydrated throughout a hot summer day is something that is usually taken for granted, not just by those engaging in physical fitness, but by people going about daily life. While many of those who exercise usually gulp down large amounts of water after a workout, the key is to keep the body consistently hydrated. This is done by drinking water before, during and after exercise.
- Staying shielded from the sun – Applying sunscreen and sunblock should not only be done when engaging in water sports or outdoor activities but whenever one is exposed to the sun for long periods of time. One should choose the physical or chemical blocks that are best suited for the specific activity one is engaging in. Wearing the appropriate clothing and a hat when simply sitting or lounging outdoors offers added protection against harmful UV rays.
It goes without saying that physical activities, whether conducted indoors or outdoors, should be well-planned. Indoor venues for aerobics or dance classes, for example, should be well-ventilated to help the body cool down properly. When doing outdoor activities, on the other hand, mornings or late afternoons are the best times of the day to do them since the temperature range and UV index are not that high. By keeping these suggestions in mind, one can be sure to have an active, safe and fun-filled summer!