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Sneaky Summer Fitness

Amy Anderson, Special to The Bark

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Summer is approaching and for many of us it means sleeping-in late, relaxing, and being free from the stresses of school. Not only is summer a great time to unwind and bask in the sun, but it can also be a time to improve your fitness and health. Here are 10 ways to sneak in some fitness without even realizing that you are exercising!

  1. Take the stairs. Skip the VIP parking and the elevators. People who walk more and use the stairs burn up more energy (calories) than those who park close and take the elevator or escalator. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (USDHHS), walking up stairs also helps strengthen muscles and bones (2012).
  2. Get a summer job. Jobs such as washing cars, mowing lawns, becoming a neighborhood dog-walker, and babysitting toddlers can all be some creative ways to stay moving while earning a little extra cash. 
  3. Walk, bike, or ride your skateboard to nearby coffee shops or the local frozen yogurt joint.
  4. Start a water-balloon battle with willing friends and family members.
  5.  Play with your dog or your friend’s dog if you don’t have one.
  6. Do your chores. Turn up the music and become a cleaning dancing star!
  7. Watch TV. At every commercial get up and move. One idea is to alternate doing different exercises with each commercial. For example, switching from jumping jacks to sit-ups, push-ups, and then lunges. This activity can turn into a friendly competition with your television-watching mate.
  8. Play your video games. The ones that make you move of course. Some of these include the motion sensing devices like the Wii and Kinect.
  9. Go to the park. Take your dog, play catch, Frisbee, paddleball, baseball, or basketball. Is it possible to be too old to play on the playground?  If it involves moving and fun, you are on your way to staying fit.
  10. Find a new adventure to do each week. This might include going to a new park, planning a family picnic, getting a workout in at the local gym with a free guest pass, visiting a farmer’s market and becoming inspired to create a healthy meal, trying a new sport or even create your own game that involves moving.

Take advantage of summer with these fun and almost effortless ways to sneak-in fitness. The benefits you will receive are many. Teens that are physically active typically have stronger muscles and bones, greater endurance, less body fat, are less likely to experience depression and anxiety, and are more likely to experience a healthy adulthood (USDHHS, 2012). Also, engaging in physical activity improves your mood by triggering your brain to release “feel-good” chemicals in your brain called endorphins (USDHHS, 2012). In other words, staying active not only helps to keep you fit and healthy, but it can also increase your confidence and aid in producing happy feelings. So get MOVIN this summer!

 

References:

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (2012). Physical activity guidelines for Americans: Active children and adolescents. Retrieved April 17, 2012 from http://health.gov/paguidelines/guidelines/chapter3.aspx

 

Amy Anderson, RN Student, LVN, B.S. Kinesiology

Amy Anderson is a Licensed Vocational Nurse and has a Bachelors Degree in Kinesiology from San Jose State University. She is currently a nursing student attaining her Bachelors of Science in Nursing and becoming a Registered Nurse. She has been working along-side the School Nurses of MHUSD and is focusing on Community Health.

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Sneaky Summer Fitness