Being outdoors to enjoy the warm weather is one of the best parts of summer! While hiking and biking are arguably two of the most popular activities, watersports are a great option to stay active and have fun when it’s hot outside. Here are a few of our favorite options.
Paddling a kayak can be a great workout since it involves your entire upper body and core to keep the boat moving forward. Kayaks (and canoes) can be used in just about any body of water. From lakes to rivers to the ocean, kayaking is a versatile water sport. Many local lakes and reservoirs will offer rentals either by the hour, half day, or full day.
Stand Up Paddle Boarding (SUP)
This is the ultimate full body workout. Stand up paddle boarding requires strength and stability from the lower body in addition to core engagement and upper body strength to paddle and maneuver the board. Another versatile water sport that can be done on many bodies of water, paddle boarding can be made more accessible to those who are less experienced by kneeling or sitting on the board until you feel balanced enough to stand. Inflatable paddle boards are easy to store and are sold at a variety of retailers and online, including Costco. Check your local reservoir or lake for rental options, too.
While swimming can be done indoors in colder months (if you haven’t already, come check out VASA’s three-lane lap pools), the full body strength and cardiovascular benefits remain the same all year long. Upper body strength, lower body stamina, and core stability are all improved when you jump into the water to swim a few laps. An added benefit to swimming outside is increased Vitamin D creation, which helps with bone and skin health.
Wake Boarding & Water Skiing
Test your balance while you ride the boat’s wake (small waves) on a wake board or water skis. This water sport challenges grip and upper body strength in addition to reaction time and coordination to prevent falling into the water. As your legs and core get stronger over time, you can try other advanced tricks to increase the challenge.
For those who live in areas with mountains, white water rafting is a summer tradition. Work as a team with your friends in a rubber raft as you float down river and encounter rapids that may try to toss you from the raft. Strong arms, shoulders, and core are required to paddle and help guide the raft. Splashes of cold mountain water are invigorating and will cool you off, but you’ll have so much fun you’ll forget you’re exercising!
Before heading out to the lake or river, spend time preparing for your activity and build up your arm, shoulder, upper back, core, and leg strength and endurance in the gym. Full-body strength is required for most of these sports and you’ll be able to enjoy them more with a higher baseline of strength!