Summer Fitness Goals and Activities

Summer weather has arrived ahead of schedule, school will soon be out, the track is buzzing, and you’re ready to burst out into your summer fitness program, hobbies and other activities, right? Well, if you’re like most of us, you’ve been busy this spring, and now are faced with indoor and outdoor chores, end-of school activities, garden and yard maintenance, early summer travel etc. How can we budget our time and prepare ourselves for fun and rewarding summer activity and exercise? Let’s consider some options.

First, what are your activity and fitness goals for the summer? New flower beds? Morning walks with your neighbor? Prepping for tennis season? Weekend golf or cycling? Whatever they are, I suggest writing down some of your goals and beginning to take steps immediately, however small, towards each one. Set precise goals when possible, breaking them down into manageable steps that you can check off as you accomplish each one. If you want to hike part of the Appalachian trail in September, you need to create a three-month plan that includes laying a strong base of mileage in June, longer walks including elevation changes in July, and integration with pack, trekking poles, boots in August, prior to tapering off in the last 10-14 days to ensure that you are fresh. Make your plan, write it down, and stick to it!

Next, determine what equipment, gear, supplies, or apparel you will need.  If you decide to start participating in a community walking program, you will need the right shoes or boots for walking on the trail, a light or headlamp and reflective gear for walking at dawn or dusk, and a water bottle for hydration during the walk. Poor planning will curtail your enjoyment and derail progress towards your goal.

How much time is safe and reasonable to spend on your athletic endeavor, activity, or hobby as you are getting started? You will need to determine that based on your current level of fitness and tolerance to the stress of your chosen activity. If you want to create a new flower bed, and you estimate that it will take you 24 hours, break down each of the steps and the time and effort they take: clear sod, turn over soil, add 10 yards of dirt, landscape the terrain, place decorative steps and rock, place and heel in plantings, add a border and 3 yards of mulch. Each step varies in difficulty and time. Pacing yourself over the course of a week to 10 days rather than rushing through in a weekend makes more sense for most of us.

Another consideration is whether you are a solo act or better in a group or with a partner. It takes tremendous determination and strong motivation to begin and sustain an exercise program or repeated activity over time. While there is a peacefulness to occasional solo endeavors, having a buddy or a group to provide support, safety, and accountability can provide a boost to your efforts. The best groups are a folks having a balance of enthusiasm, trust, mutual respect, and commitment to the cause. Once you find your group, you may develop a chemistry that sustains you through months and years of activity.

Finally, are you physically able to do what it takes to reach your goals? Persistent pain or limitations in strength, balance, or movement will hamper progress and may subject you to further injury. If you are in need of assistance as you ramp up the pursuit of your goals this summer, contact us to have one of our 15 physical therapists provide some expert advice. Whether you need a simple tune-up or a more extensive overhaul, we have the expertise to assist you in the pursuit of your dreams.

As always, Movement Matters.