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Stay fit all summer

Published in Weight Management, For the Health of It Author: Dustin Henkelman, Exercise Coach

Summer is often the time of year when people are more focused on fitness and chasing the desired “beach body.” Though I’m a firm believer in consistent exercise throughout the year, I do look forward to summer exercise. I, along with many Minnesotans, love to be outdoors and will find any excuse I can to be outside on a nice sunny day. Summer not only provides longer daylight hours, but it also provides ample opportunity to get some activity in. And activity doesn’t have to be structured to have a benefit on your health.

Gardening is a popular past time that has proven to have benefits beyond the produce that you get from it. It has the benefit of needing consistent activity for upkeep and harvest. It is also a good way to get out of the house and serve as a stress reliever.

Walking is often regarded as a “favorite” activity for many during the summer months. You can involve other family members, pets, neighbors or just have some quality alone time. One thing about walking is that it often provides a time to unwind from daily stress and allows one to do some deep thinking about your goals. Walking is also great for helping children and pets use up some of that abundance of energy.

From a young age, I can remember taking day trips to several of the area water holes in the great state we live in. Water provides a great opportunity for activity and exercise for all ages as well. It is probably the lowest impact exercise option available and may provide more benefit than any other exercise option. It can be a great cardio workout and the resistance of the water can help build strength as well. Plus, who doesn’t love spending a day in the water soaking up more vitamin D?

Another often underappreciated option we have available is the many trails in the area. These include walking, hiking and biking trails. Some of the trails even have strength training equipment periodically placed to make a great circuit training tool. Whether it be with a group or alone, the scenery never disappoints on these trails. Yet another great way to blow off some steam from a stressful day!

These are just a few examples of the great summer opportunities in Central Minnesota. And no, I have not forgotten about the nutritional aspect of summer. Who doesn’t love fresh fruits and veggies? Whether they are grown at home or you’re purchasing them from a farmers market or store, fresh produce is readily available during the summer months. Minnesota truly does make activity and healthy eating very enjoyable and fun in the summer.