The month of June brings the official arrival of summer, with the 21st being the summer solstice and the longest day of the annual cycle. Hurray! With the peak of daylight comes the opportunity for all of us as individuals and a community to be more active outside. Research shows that we are not moving enough in our everyday lives to counter the increase in calorie density and availability of food in our current culture. And most people cite lack of time or lack of motivation for reasons to avoid going to the gym for exercise. So why not “think out of the box” and try some of the newer forms of “activity” this year that provides active entertainment AND exercise without having to formally plan it. Read on for ideas for what to do this summer to be your most active you.
Stand up paddle boarding has become a national trend ever since its introduction a few years ago. Basically, it is a surf board that you stand on in calmer waters and use your single paddle to tool around a body of water. It is fun, keeps you cool (especially if you fall into the water!), and seriously works your core and legs without you having to do a single crunch or lunge. You can rent paddle boards at many local waters, including Lake George and Saratoga Lake. Take your family for a Saturday paddle board lesson and have a ton of fun and burn up some activity points on your Fitbit at the same time—a great replacement for just lying next to a pool and eating chips!
Another activity quickly gaining popularity is the indoor trampoline, where a number of trampolines are set up into the floor so you don’t have to climb up to get to them. This is a fun activity for ages young and old and all fitness levels. With activities from day drop-ins to birthday parties, local facilities include Flight and Skyzone. Another great idea for a rainy weekend day.
Walking and bike trails
Our area has many biking and walking trails safe from motorized vehicles. Families and individuals can ride, walk, run, in-line skate, and more on these beautiful and safe walkways. The Zim Smith in Halfmoon is approximately 9 miles from one end to the other. The 35-mile Mohawk-Hudson bike trail runs from Rotterdam to Cohoes. Thatcher State Park boasts 12 miles of multi-use trails and Grafton State Park has 25 miles of paths. Plan a bike, walk or hike each weekend and the availability in our area could keep you busy for the entire summer without doing the same trail twice!
Open water swimming
Our area has three local triathlon clubs that offer access to open water one day a week with only the price of membership as the admission. To participate, you don’t have to be a triathlete; you just have to demonstrate that you know how to swim. The Capital District Triathlon Club meets on Tuesdays at Crystal Lake; Bethlehem Triathlon Club, Thursdays at Warner’s Lake; and Adirondack Triathlon Club, Thursdays at Moreau Lake. Think about joining one of the clubs and swimming outside instead of inside in a pool on a glorious summer evening this year.
A Google search yielded no less than 54 hits in our Capital District region for horseback riding facilities. What a great way to spend a few hours on a weekend while feeling powerful and free atop a beautiful and regal animal. And don’t think the horse is doing all the work. Your inner thighs and legs and core get a phenomenal workout while staying astride. Facilities offer guided trail riding, so even if you have never been on a horse you can enjoy this activity and still be safe!
And finally, we live in one of the world meccas for outdoor hiking. With access to the internet and a trail guide, you can find everything from easy to extremely challenging hikes. Thatcher Park’s trails are easy access and offer the scenic beauty of the mountains without having to scale the elevations of other trails. The Adirondack Mountains are to our north, the Catskills to our south and the Berkshires to our east. Organizations such as the Adirondack Mountain Club give provide the opportunity to participate in organized hikes for all ability levels. A weekday hike avoids the crowds and counts as three days in the gym (at least).
Enjoy the weather, get a great workout and create new experiences highlighting fun and activity for yourself and your family.
Judy Torel, MS is a USAT Certified Coach, Level I. ACSM Certified Health Fitness Specialist. Healthexcel Certified Metabolic Typing Consultant, Level I. MS, Counseling Psychology, State University of New York at Albany. Yoga Instructor – 200+ hour training level/Anusara style. 6 time Ironman Triathlete. 24 Hour Ultra Run Winner, 1st Place Masters Woman. For more information visit www.judytorel.com or call 469.0815.
Fitness tip: When it is hot and humid, the rule of thumb is to drink 30 ounces of liquid per hour of activity to stay hydrated. Try to avoid high-calorie drinks and instead try Skratch or NUUN to replace electrolytes and hydration without adding too many calories and simple sugars.