Welcome to the first installment of LauraLovesFitness!
It seems only fitting I am launching my blog during my favorite time of the year. Summer gives us 13 whole weeks to take our favorite moves from the gym to the outdoors. This is your chance to mix things up and turn that next trip to the beach or park into some muscle-moving fun. As you pack up the sunscreen and healthy snacks, toss a Frisbee into your backback or beach tote. Or you could give paddle ball (my all-time favorite beach game!) a whirl. Keeping that little rubber ball in the air provides a great workout for everything from your glutes, quads, calves, core muscles and your arms. For a real challenge, try “switch hitting” with your paddle. The best part? When it gets too hot, you can take a dip and cool off!
A note of caution: if you’re suffering from a foot, ankle or knee injury, remember sand is an unstable surface. While that creates extra calorie-burning opportunities as your body works harder to stay balanced, it puts extra pressure on an injured area. I am currently struggling to recover from a stress fracture in my left foot and had to be extra careful on a recent trip to Florida. What helped me? Wearing my sneakers (along with orthotics) while walking on the beach. They may not look as cute as flip-flops, but they did help me maintain stability and also took some pressure off the injured metatarsal and inflamed joint.
If your idea of outdoor fun is more along the lines of a picnic in the park, Frisbee and paddle ball can be played on the grass, too. Or why not test your skills at whiffle ball or croquet? Check out your local sports store for plenty of portable games that provide fun for multiple skill-levels. You’ll also feel better digging into the picnic fare knowing you burned some calories beforehand!
Regardless of where you decide to play, remember a few basics:
- Drink plenty of non-alcoholic fluids, preferably water.
- Don’t forget the waterproof, sweat-proof sunscreen. While sore muscles from a game of beach volleyball can be rewarding, a sunburn never feels good!
- Finally – don’t forget to stretch! After giving those arms and legs a good workout, static or active-isolated stretches can help the body recover. Remember: static stretches need to be held for a minimum of 20 seconds.
Here’s to a fit and fabulous summer!