The weather is heating up, you circled your vacation on your calendar, but your summer body isn’t exactly there yet. We all know the pain of bathing suit season, but it doesn’t have to feel like a chore to start getting into shape. These unique exercises are fun and guaranteed to not only help you achieve your fitness goals, but help you mentally and spiritually.
1. Obstacle Course Race
If you’re competitive by nature, try signing up for an obstacle course race such as a Spartan Race or Warrior Dash. A Warrior Dash includes 12 difficult obstacles over its 3.1-mile stretch, while Spartan Races range from 5K distances to marathons and include all sorts of obstacles.
No matter which one you choose, you’ll gain the muscle you want for the summer while you’re scaling walls and running knee-deep in mud.
2. Water Running
Maybe allergies have you down, and running on a treadmill is more your speed. Switch it up by trying out water running on an underwater treadmill. You get the same benefits as running on a normal treadmill, but minimize injury risk thanks to buoyancy.
According to a study by Texas A&M University, participants using an underwater treadmill showed benefits over those who used land treadmills. The underwater group had less soreness, inflammation and body fat, and improved muscle mass and strength performance. Those are good reasons to give it a try.
3. Try a Group Class
Don’t run from the phrase “group class.” Everyone seems to know classes such as Zumba, yoga and cycling. Kick it up a notch and bring some of your friends along to a surf fit class, where people stand, squat and balance on a surfboard. If you love to dance, sweat uncontrollably at a dancing-in-heels class. The options are endless.
4. Rock Climbing
There’s always one adrenaline junkie in the group. If that’s you, pay attention to this option. Rock climbing — indoor or outdoor — works your back, arms and pretty much every other muscle in your body. Each time you climb, you’ll feel stronger and more fit as you tackle higher-graded routes. Plus, it’s a great opportunity to meet new people if you join a climbing group.
5. Lift Like a Boss
Lifting — weights or your bodyweight — is an important part of any fitness routine. Resist the urge to slim down by jumping on a treadmill, and instead grab some weights to define different muscle groups.
It doesn’t have to be just boring free weights. This total-body workout incorporates equipment in new and exciting ways. That tire won’t just be something the guys lift — if you try these exercises, you’ll be there flipping it with them.
6. Belly Dancing
Let’s face it, there a lot of women who wish for a flatter stomach come beach time. While you look fabulous in whatever you wear, belly dancing is one way to trim your waist and define your abs before beach season.
This workout engages your core and will make you sweat as you try out each dance style. If you love to be on stage, try to find a group that does stage performances. There are studios around for all different ages and skill levels.
7. Aerial Yoga
Yoga is not only great for your body, but it also reduces stress and increases mindfulness. If you feel stuck in your usual yoga routine, give aerial yoga a try.
Besides the pure wonder you’ll feel at flying high, aerial yoga offers people greater flexibility, better focus and more strengthened muscles than regular yoga. It’s more difficult, too, as you’re trying to balance and do yoga poses while up in the air, so make sure you’re up to the challenge.
Feel Healthy and Confident
Although summer is a great time to get in shape, don’t forget these workouts are about more than just the physical. Exercise boosts your mood, reduces stress and gives you confidence. As you try out new classes, you’ll start to notice differences in how you perceive yourself and the world around you.
Exercise to be a healthier version of you, and give one of these unique workouts a try to mix it up and prepare for summer.