How to Exercise Outdoors in the Summer

By Sarah Dray

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Summer provides plenty of opportunities to exercise outdoors. Not only is this a good chance to mix up your exercise routine and avoid boredom, but it also provides variety that challenges muscles and increases performance.


Difficulty: Moderate
  1. Stay hydrated. This is especially important if you live in a dry area, where you may not sweat a lot and thus not realize that you are losing water. As a general rule, drink at least eight ounces for every 20 minutes you spend exercising outdoors. Energy drinks are only appropriate if you're engaged in heavy activity, such as climbing or running, as they contain large amounts of sugar and calories. Otherwise, water is healthier.
  2. Dress appropriately. If you're wearing shorts and a tank top, make sure you apply enough sunscreen to protect yourself. Wear light colors, as darker ones absorb heat, and try to choose breathable fabrics such as cotton. If you're exercising in extreme heat or in areas where the sun is particularly strong, consider wearing a lightweight long-sleeve shirt to protect your skin.
  3. Use your local park to perform basic exercises. Benches can be used for abdominal work, while monkey bars are ideal for pull-ups or bicep exercises. Hiking trails can provide an even surface for running or jogging. Or you can rent a rowboat, run in the sand or swim in a public pool. Some parks offer fitness stations along trails, which you can follow while performing the exercises indicated on the plaques. When heading to the park, try to work out in the evening, as the sun starts to go down and the heat of the day diminishes.
  4. Increase your pace steadily, rather than starting at full intensity. Summer outdoor workouts are more challenging because of the heat and the added resistance of wind and hard surfaces. Rather than rushing into a full run, start walking, then jog and eventually start running. Adjust the intensity and length of your workout until your body adapts. Pay special attention to weather conditions: Hot weather may require you to slow down.
  5. Get to know your inner child. Go rollerblading, skating or skateboarding. And since the summer months are prime time for taking care of your lawn and garden, ditch the lawnmower and use your hands to dig in the dirt. Gardening burns in excess of 250 calories per hour, more than you would burn in an hour of golfing (180) or doing housework (160).

Tips & Warnings

  • When exercising outdoors, be aware of signs of heatstroke, and look for help if you start feeling seriously ill. Symptoms of heatstroke include vomiting, increased heart rate, dry skin, confusion, no sweating, muscle cramps and dizziness.

About the Author

Sarah Dray has been writing since 1996. She specializes in health, wellness and travel topics and has credits in various publications, including "Woman's Day," "Marie Claire," "Adirondack Life" and "Self." She is also a seasoned independent traveler and a certified personal trainer and nutrition consultant. Dray is pursuing a criminal justice degree at Penn Foster College.