If you're anything like me, you know the struggle of trying to stay fit during summer break. Gone are the days when you can swipe into a fully equipped gym and have access to the necessary equipment for every workout imaginable. I'd established a fairly consistent routine while at school and was working out about three times a week. That all changed when I returned home, and while I welcomed the extra desserts and newfound downtime with open arms, I found myself missing the physical challenge of a good workout.
However, I was unwilling to part with the cash necessary to start up a gym membership—especially one that I could only use for a couple of months each year. In the end, I had to find creative ways to work up a sweat and stay in shape. Here are a few of my favorites.
1. Go For A JogGiphy
I know, I know—not exactly groundbreaking stuff here. There's something to be said about sticking to the basics, though, and jogging is a great aerobic exercise that burns calories and tones your legs and core (not to mention that it's completely free). I have never thoroughly enjoyed running, despite many years of basketball and tennis, but I'll reluctantly admit that the benefits outweigh any temporary discomfort. I typically try to do a mile loop five times a week. If you're newer to working out, start slow and alternate between walking and jogging (think 1 minute walking, thirty seconds jogging).
2. Jump Some Rope
I maintain that the jump rope has to be the most underrated piece of equipment in the fitness community: it provides an intense cardio workout at an extremely low price. I picked up a jump rope this summer with a fair amount of confidence, calling to mind the hours I'd spent outside as a kid, double dutch-ing and criss cross-ing like it was nobody's business. If I could do it then, how hard could it really be?
Answer: very. Apparently when you're a kid you have a lot less weight and a lot more energy. Who would've thought?
After consistent practice, though, I am no longer panting after thirty seconds of jumping. Cheers for small victories. If you want a really great aerobic challenge, consider jumping three sets of 1 minute each—after you do that mile jog.
3. Take A HikeSophie Goodwin
I'll be the first to admit that I'm not much of an "outdoorsy" type, mainly because mosquitoes are quite fond of me and the feeling is not mutual. I do appreciate a good hike, however, especially when it's followed by a picnic of fresh fruits and veggies. Depending on the intensity of the trail, hiking can really get your heart rate up—but let's be real, you'll be too focused on the beautiful scenery (and not tripping) to notice.
4. Try Out Yoga
And no, I'm not referring to the overpriced hot yoga classes frequented by young moms and brunch-goers. There's this beautiful thing called YouTube that has tons of free guided yoga sessions for every expert level. Yoga is a great way to increase your flexibility, balance, and strength—holding those poses is no joke. If you have a mat, great; if not, I've found a towel or carpet to work just fine.
5. Train Like A Boxer
This one is admittedly a little harder to go about setting up, but boxing is a great mental and physical activity. It burns calories and strengthens your arms and core, and practicing different combos forces you to (literally) be quick on your feet. I'm lucky enough to have a grandpa that's passionate about boxing—and that always wanted a grandson to practice with. (Unfortunately for him, he got me, my sister, and our three female cousins.)
If you can get your hands on a sparring partner, and some gloves and pads, definitely give boxing a go! If neither of you know what you're doing, consult YouTube or Google to learn the correct form and the difference between a jab, hook, and uppercut.
In the end, it's all about finding fun and creative ways to engage your body. Give these activities a shot, but don't be afraid to try out other things—biking, bouldering, and kayaking, to name a few. If you put your mind to it, you'll find that there are countless ways to stay in shape while saving money.