With the summer months approaching people are getting eager to go to the beach and sit by the pool but also might be feeling anxious about what they're going to wear. Learning to love our bodies is an uphill battle that everyone faces at some point in their life. And, I'm going to tell you right now that it gets better when you make it better. And no, that doesn't mean to go overwork yourself at the gym to get a magazine model's body.
What I'm talking about is a lifestyle shift but one that also fits who you are. Being healthy, active, loving your physical appearance, and being confident in it can come from many forms of movement. I put together a list of things that you can do this season for those major endorphin releases and positive living.
An outdoor activity that delivers beautiful views of nature and is proven to boost your mood, hiking is a win-win. Gregory A. Miller, Ph.D., president of the American Hiking Society stated, "Research shows that hiking has a positive impact on combating the symptoms of stress and anxiety. Being in nature is ingrained in our DNA, and we sometimes forget that." And, since walking is a weight-bearing exercise, hiking will strengthen your core, improve your balance, boost bone density and help control your weight.
If you're looking for something more than casual walks around your neighborhood then search 'local hiking trails' to find your next adventure. Start slow with one that isn't an overwhelming distance and then work your way up. Who knows where it'll take you!
2. Morning/ Evening Walks
If hiking isn't your thing just yet, that's okay. Morning and/or evening walks are just as good for the mind, body, and soul. Waking up, putting on your sneakers, and maybe even brewing a mug of coffee will be the perfect start to your day. It gets your blood flowing and your mind active. You can do this alone or with a friend or two. Maybe even your partner or pets.
At the end of a long work shift, potentially a stressful one, take a walk in the evening to bring your day to a close. Release endorphins, work through your thoughts, and maybe even catch a beautiful sunset.
Walking is a strong foundation for building up your cardiovascular strength which in turn will improve your heart health and how your body functions.
3. Fitness Classes
The gym can be intimidating, absolutely. I mean think about it. Walking into an open space with strangers typically in very tight/ little to no clothing and never before seen machines and objects isn't a regular sight in everyone's life. However, the gym is also a motivating place to learn about our body, improve our strength and challenge ourselves. So, if you're still learning how to pick things up and put them down then maybe try out a fitness class!
Here are just a few types:
- Strength Training
- 305 Dance
Fitness classes are awesome because you have an instructor in the room with you who is there to guide you through your workout and make sure that you are doing things correctly and with confidence. It's almost like having a personal trainer but without being watched like a hawk at all times. And hey, maybe you'll even make a friend or two. Not only are friendships great but you'll also have accountability partners in maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle.
4. Bike Riding
Riding bikes is awesome and can be done for fun, for exercise, or both. A beautiful thing about this activity is that it's a very low-impact type of exercise. So, if you tend to struggle with joint pain or muscular issues, riding a bike will allow you to get cardio done without so much pounding on your body the way that something like running would force you to endure.
Keeping plants alive isn't always the easiest thing but it's always a good feeling when you do. Creating a garden to look after gives you little successes each day to look forward to and also gets you outside for some vitamin D. It keeps you on your feet and off the couch for a bit of time each day.
Okay, dancing is one of the biggest serotonin boosts of them all. Not only does it make you happy but you can do it anywhere- in your kitchen, at a bar, in the gym, and really wherever else you want to.
And if you're going to sit here and say "I don't dance" well, it's time to make some changes because anyone who hasn't fully let loose while dancing hasn't lived. So my challenge to you this summer is to dance in a room when no one's watching, try out a Zumba class, or shoot for the stars and hit the dance floor somewhere. Let your body smile out loud to the music you love most.
Another low-impact activity is swimming. Most gyms nowadays have pools that you can do laps in or take water aerobics classes which I must say, will leave you sore. Working out in the water is great for your bones, joints, and muscles. There is natural resistance when training in a pool that aids in building up the muscle in your body. Not only that but something like water aerobics can also help improve heart health and cardiovascular strength.
Find YOUR Movement
No matter what your niche is, movement is necessary for a healthy life. An active lifestyle should be fun, it shouldn't feel like a chore. This summer, give yourself grace but find that thing that best suits you!