The sun is shining, which means outdoor activities are in season! Changing up your workout routine creates muscle confusion and new challenges for your body. While some may believe vacations are bad for your workout routine, the contrary is true if you’re planning some fun outdoor activities. Keep reading for fun ways to take advantage of the warm weather and get in a workout, both at home and on vacation.
Paddle boarding is a great summer work out. Expect to be sore after about 30 minutes on the water. This is a whole-body workout; you have to engage all of your major muscle groups to keep you balanced and propelling forward. I can’t recommend this one enough. If standing is too challenging, try paddling on your knees and work up to standing position when comfortable. Make sure you keep an upright posture, with your shoulders back so you’re engaging your muscles properly. If you’re looking for more of a challenge, try adding some instability with a passenger! That passenger can be of the furry variety. Please make sure you’re both wearing life jackets; safety first! Typically I am out on the water with my dog anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour. After pulling the board out of the water we’re both dog-tired and had the opportunity to fit in some bonding time; win-win!
Running on Sand
While it is tempting to run barefoot, at RET we recommend you keep your running shoes on for this one. This will support your arches and protect your feet from cuts as well. Not only is sand challenging, but it provides a bit of instability and added resistance. Sand is a softer, more forgiving surface than concrete, so it’s easier on your joints as well. However, running on sand should be done carefully, as suggested by Dr. Thierry M. Lejeune. Dr. Lejeune is the lead author of the article, “Mechanics and Energetics of Human Locomotion on Sand” in The Journal of Experimental Biology. Data from the study indicated that running on sand requires 1.6 times the energy that running on a hard surface requires. He stated, “Our muscles perform more mechanical work when running or walking on sand than on a hard surface.” That being said, you shouldn’t go out and run as fast or as far as you normally would when running on sand. Take it easy; start running or walking on packed sand before loose sand. In addition, try short distances first to see how your body reacts. It will be sure to tell you if you did too much!
Our beaches in Washington, while beautiful, tend to be rocky. For an equivalent challenge you could try trail running. You will need to ease into this as well, and watch your footing for uneven ground, roots, and rocks too. Even though we enjoy seeing our patients, would rather see your progress than a sprained ankle!
Take a Hike!
Hiking is a great way to switch up your routine and opt outside. It provides inclines and declines that we typically don’t encounter during indoor (or even some outdoor) workouts. It also helps build endurance and is another activity that our furry friends can enjoy. Hiking can be a great bonding experience for families while mentoring healthy habits for your children. Pictured above is Lake 22; a short hike in Washington with beautiful views. I would recommend it to novice and seasoned hikers alike; hope to see you guys out on the trail!
Did you read through the activities above and find that pain or instability is keeping you from doing the things you love? Click here to schedule an appointment today, so we can fix that for you. Follow any RET clinic on social media all month for more local hikes, outdoor activities, and relevant exercises.