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Get Sporty This Summer

  • July 31, 2013
  • By Brittany
  • 17 Comments
Get Sporty This Summer

Hi there!  Just wanted to put in one shameless plug before we got to today’s post. Remember way back in June when Tampax invited me to Solstice in Times Square? Well, when I was there I heard about this really fun Awesomely Active Girls competition where you submit a photo of yourself being awesomely active and people vote for you to win!  Well, voting is open and I would just absolutely love it and be so grateful to you forever, if you would vote for me!  You can click here to vote.  THANKS!

Now that it is August we have really reached the dog days of summer. As we go off on our respective vacations and generally slow down, it’s important to remember that we can still take advantage of these warm months to stay fit!  So I’ve got two things planned to help you stay active and motivated.

First up, if you follow me on Facebook you are all set for my Summer of Fitness Challenge!  Everyday I’ll be posting on Facebook suggestions on how to make the most of August when it comes to your fitness!  And if we are not friends on Facebook yet, hop on over to my page and like it so you don’t miss out!

Summer of Fitness Logo

Now that we have that taken care of,  I wanted to give you a little bit of background on some summer sport options (note- while these may be suggestions for the Summer of Fitness Challenge, none are mandatory so don’t be worried!).

Stand Up Paddle Board

Stand Up Paddle

What is it?:  Stand Up Paddleboarding or SUP, is a paddle sport where you stand on a large board (similiar to a surfboard) and paddle through the water using kayak-like paddles.  You can paddle through flat calm waters or you can be a little more adventerous and try catching some waves.

Why is awesome?:  SUP requires you to work your balance because you are standing on an unsteady surface (similar to a bosu ball).  While trying to balance you are engaging your core muscles and your lower body muscles.  Paddling requires you use your arm strength and also you core muscles (think obliques people!).  Plus, all this paddling burns mega calories.  This is a total body workout on the water and it is a lot of fun!

What do I need?: A good swimsuit that will stay put.  You also need a SUP board. I would not recommend a regular surfboard because the SUP board is wider and bigger to create more stability and generally has grips on it to help you stand up.  Boards can be pricey ($700-$1,000) so if you want to give this a try, I recommend renting one by the hour.  Don’t forget the sunscreen, a hat, and a waterproof camera!

Kayaking

Kayaking

What is it?:  Kayaking is a paddle sport where you sit in a canoe-like small boat, usually made out of plastic.  Kayaks can accommodate one person or two people based on the type of boat.  Once seated in the kayak, you move through the water with a paddle that has 2 blades attached to the shaft.  You must alternate paddling on the right side and then the left side to move forward.

Why is it awesome?:  Like SUP, kayaking utilizes upper body and arm strength.  It also is a major calorie burner and can get your heart rate up!  You can paddle flat calm waters or try to surf some waves.  Paddling against waves or against wind will increase your resistance and require you to work harder, providing more cardio and strength benefits.

What do I need?:  Like SUP, you need a sturdy swimsuit, sunscreen and a hat.  I also recommend a life vest in case your kayak is overturned so you will not be stuck under the boat.  Kayaks can cost a few hundred dollars.  If you are planning on getting a lot of use out of it, I recommend investing in one that fits your experience level (speak to a local dealer).  If you just want to give it a try, contact a local guide group for a beginners class.  You can see some amazing sights in a kayak so don’t forget a waterproof camera!

Cycling

cycling

What is it?:  Cycling involves pedaling on a bike (duh!) outside.  Unlike indoor cycling you will actually go somewhere!  Cycling can mean anything from biking on flat roads to climbing hills to doing speed work to mountain biking through uneven terrain.  I recommend cycling with someone else and starting off in a flat area without many people.  Remember, if you cycle on the road, you need to follow the rules of the road-you’re not a pedestrian anymore.

Why is it awesome?:  Cycling is an amazing cardiovascular workout!  You can really push your limits and improve your endurance.  It is also a great lower body workout.  Cycling is also a great option for a low-impact activity and can be beneficial for people who suffer issues such as knee pain

What do I need?: Well, a bike!  You don’t need to spend a ton on your first bike.  You can rent one until you decide the sport is for you or you can get one for under $200.  Bikes are generally classified as cruisers, hybrids or road bikes (there are also mountain bikes for uneven terrain).  A cruiser is generally great for doing just that, cruising!  You will have less gears and speeds and will want to stay on mostly flat, paved surfaces.  You will have the advantage of a comfier seat and you will sit relatively upright allowing you to easily place your feet on the ground when you stop.  A hybrid bike is the next step up from a cruiser bike and has more qualities of a road bike (like being lighter and skinnier tires) allowing you to go faster and deal with hills better.  However, you still sit upright like a cruiser and generally have a more comfortable seating than a road bike.  Road bikes are generally recommended for people who have some experience with indoor cycling classes or are fit from running.  They have dropped handlebars forcing you to sit forward.  These bikes are the best for speed and hill work.  They are also extremely light but they are the most expensive.  So based on your goals and your budget, you should choose a bike that suits your needs.  I recommend heading to a reputable bike shop because they are super knowledgeable.  Don’t forget your helmet!

Swimming

Swimming

What is it?:  Swimming involves performing different strokes in either a pool or in open water (i.e., a lake or ocean).  Typical swimming strokes include freestyle or crawl stroek, the breaststroke, the side stroke and the butterfly.

Why is it awesome?:  Swimming is an excellent form of cardio.  Like cycling, it is completely non-impact and it is a wonderful way to build stamina and strength.  Swimming involves a lot of upper body strength but it also requires strong kicking to propel yourself forward.  Swimming is particularly great for people who having joint problems.

What do I need?: A sturdy swimsuit and goggles.  Depending upon your pool rules, you may need a swimcap.  I also recommend a kickboard so you can work just your legs.  Other optional equipment is a waterproof timer and water barbells so you can do some resistance work with your arms.  Of course, just swimming in the ocean or pool and having fun is acceptable too! 🙂

Surfing

Surfing

What is it?:  Surfing involves trying to catch a wave (i.e, ride a wave into shore) while standing on top of a board usually made out of fiberglass or a soft padding.  To surf, you usually must paddle out, away from shore and visually spot a wave.  Start paddling in to shore until the wave catches you from underneath your board.  You then must “pop up” (i.e., stand up very quickly) into a surfer stance and attempt to balance on the board while the wave carries you in to shore.

Why is it awesome?:  Surfing is an incredible cardio workout and involves a lot of strength, balance, agility and even some flexibility.  Paddling out on your board requiers a lot of stamina and burns a lot of calories.  Catching the wave requires you to have strength to push yourself up, agility to pop up quickly and flexibility to move in and out of the surfers stance with ease.  Many surfers also do yoga to help them with their flexibilty.  Once you are up on your board, you need core strength and balance to ride the wave.

What do I need?:  A sturdy swimsuit and potentially a rash guard to keep your stomach from getting scraped from the board.  You will also need some very strong, waterproof sunscreen.  A surfboard can range widely in price but you can get a relatively inexpensive one if you are just learning.  One thing to remember is that a larger board with padding is better if you are a beginner than a smaller, sleeker board because you want stability and you will (most likely) not being trying to control the board for turns (yet!).

Tennis

Tennis 2

What is it?:  Tennis is a raquet sport that requires opponents to hit a ball back and forth between one another until one person hits it out-of-bounds or misses the ball to gain a point.  Tennis matches generally require four points for a person to win a game, six games to win a set and the best of three sets to win a match.  Tennis can be played as singles (one on one) or doubles (two versus two).

Why is it awesome?  Tennis is a great cardio sport but it also requires strength and agility.  Tennis players must have upper body strength to hit powerful returns but they must be light on their feet to move about the court quickly and easily.

What do I need?:  You will need a raquet and some tennis balls to play.  You will want to invest in some good quality training shoes to support your ankles and feet when you are constantly changing direction on the court.

Golf

Golf

What is it?:  Golf is a sport where a player hits a small ball down a fairway towards a hole.  The idea of golf is to take as few hits or strokes as possible to get the ball into the hole.

Why is it awesome?:  Golf requires upper body strength to be able to swing the club and hit the ball.  Even more importantly, golf is a long game (2 hours for 9 holes or 4 hours for 18 holes) and if you choose to walk the course, which I recommend you do, you can burn a lot of calories without the stress and impact from a sport like running or aerobics.

What do I need?:  In order to play golf you need a set of golf clubs.  Don’t worry, you can always rent a set of clubs for a minimal fee at the course where you play or the driving range.  Many courses will require you to wear a collared shirt and no denim so break out those khakis and polos!

Well, there you have it!  A complete round up of some of my favorite summer sports.

Readers, what sports do you like to play?  What did I miss here?  Have you tried any of these sports? 

By Brittany, July 31, 2013
  • 17
17 Comments
  • Sarah @ A Refining Adventure
    July 31, 2013

    Great ideas and suggestions! We tend to forget that exercise and activity doesn’t necessarily have to be some type of structured routine. Thanks for sharing!

  • HappinessSavouredHot
    July 31, 2013

    I like your ideas! Being active is also about having fun and trying new things! 🙂

  • Sarah @ Making Thyme for Health
    July 31, 2013

    I’m loving all of these summer fitness tips! They’re making me want to get outside right now!
    Actually, we are supposed to go SUP this weekend at Lake Tahoe (assuming the man feels better) and I’m so excited!! I’ll be sure to remember my hat and you also reminded me I need to get a waterproof cover for my phone. I’m still nervous to bring it though!

    And I will totally vote for your rockin’ picture. Good luck!! 🙂

    • FitBritt
      July 31, 2013

      Thanks Sarah! You are always so sweet. 🙂 Have a blast SUP this weekend. It is so fun! I bought my cover on Amazon. It’s not bad although the photos are not as clear but you can take pics in the water, which is cool!

  • Elle@thewaybyelle
    July 31, 2013

    I love golf. Unfortunately, I never get to go. 🙁

  • Charlotte @ Commitness to Fitness
    July 31, 2013

    I voted! this is a great list!! my boyfriend and I have been talking about kayaking and golfing since last winter, and somehow we’ve yet to do either one this summer. I can’t believe it’s already almost august!! time is flying!

    • FitBritt
      July 31, 2013

      I know! You should def try and go! Both are so much fun! I am hoping to be able to do both this week while I am off from work! 🙂

  • Shay @ Whine Less, Breathe More
    July 31, 2013

    Great, informative list! I want to try SUP so badly.

    • FitBritt
      July 31, 2013

      You should! It’s so fun and it’s not too difficult to get the hang of! Plus, it’s an amazing workout!

  • Christine @ Gotta Eat Green
    August 1, 2013

    I really want to try stand up paddle boarding! We keep seeing them up at the cottage and it looks like such an amazing workout!

  • Allie
    August 1, 2013

    I so want to try the SUP paddle boarding! I’m hoping to do it b/f the end of the summer but we’ve kind of far from the ocean and didn’t vacation near one this summer:-( We do, however, live near a lake and kayak all the time. I took ONE surf lesson when I lived in LA for 3 years and that was plenty!! I def enjoy swimming but have not done tennis yet. Thanks for some great ideas and tips!…and I liked your FB page too…

  • Sara @ Fit.Fun,Femme
    August 1, 2013

    Just voted my dear – good luck! These are all great – you are so multitalented! I did SUP in Maui last year…it’s hard as heck and requires so much core strength. I can’t imagine doing yoga on a board.

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