Taking more steps every day is likely the single best thing most Canadians can do to improve their health. In fact, you want to aim for at least 10,000 steps a day. Adults need at least 150 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous intensity exercise each week for health benefits, and walking requires virtually no equipment, can be done almost anywhere, and it’s free. Lace up your shoes and get going!
Turn your back on the treadmill and head outdoors to enjoy a variety of terrain and scenery. Appreciate a variety of trails, explore new sections of your city or community, or run some hills for a challenge. Don’t forget your shades and sunscreen!
‘Tis the season to swap four wheels for two – or to bring bikes along on road trips and vacations. Cycling, even just around the neighbourhood with the kids, can help the whole family stay active and fit over the summer – which is believe it or not, the most inactive season of all for most Canadian children. Check out Canada Bikes for more information about commuter, touring and recreational cycling in Canada.
4. Stair climbing.
Stair-climbing burns more calories than running and in addition to benefitting your heart and lungs, strengthens muscles in the lower body and core. It’s also free and can be enjoyed at home, in local parks, in office and apartment buildings and at many hotels while vacationing. Even just walking up and down the stairs for a few minutes will provide a workout – so start slowly and increase your time and speed gradually. You might enjoy The Ultimate Staircase Workout For Serious Fitness Gains.
5. Playing with the kids.
Remember summers when we were kids? We played outside until the streetlights came on – and then some! Play was our exercise and we were happier and healthier than today’s kids because of it. This summer, encourage your kids to explore, get dirty and play – and why not join in the fun too?!
We celebrate when we see the nets go up on our community courts each spring and yet local (and free) tennis courts too-often sit empty. You don’t need to wear tennis whites or be a pro to have some fun on the courts and introduce your kids to the game. Grab a couple of racquets and some balls, take a few lessons to learn the basics, and get fit while having some fun in the sun!
I’ve done it wearing my running shoes and hiking boots, as well as on snowshoes and skis – geocaching combines fun and fitness and it’s an ideal family activity. Caches contain everything from treasures and trinkets to disposable cameras and there are now more than two million geocaches hidden across the globe. To learn more, visit www.geocaching.com.
Hit the pool or leap into the lake a few times a week to reap the benefits of a water-based workout. Swimming improves heart health, strengthens and tones, helps maintain a healthy weight, promotes relaxation, and improves flexibility. Make a splash this summer!
Tone your lower body, challenge your balance skills, and work your heart and lungs while enjoying some of the best scenic views around. Did your favorite trail make the cut on South Central Ontario's best hiking trails?
10. Rock climbing.
No longer just considered an extreme sport, climbing, whether indoors or out, has become much more accessible to Canadians of all abilities. It also offers both a physical and mental workout. Gain strength, flexibility and endurance while gaining confidence, agility, skill, and learning something new.
Catherine is a senior communications professional and accomplished writer with a passion for fitness, health and wellness. Also a trainer, and having led fitness classes for over 25 years, Catherine believes in role modeling an active, healthy lifestyle for her daughters and all Canadians. Her informative and engaging work has been published in many Canadian digital and print magazines and newspapers, as well as by Tweenhood, CBC, and ParticipACTION.