My friends are always confessing their missed workouts to me. They say things like, “I haven’t exercised all week!” Not only do I not keep track of the exercise habits of my friends, sometimes they baffle me when they say things like that while we are paddleboarding or picking berries together. It’s like there’s this disconnect in some people’s minds when it comes to finding fitness in physical activites that take place outside a gym, so I came up with a simple, fun Summer Bucket List of exercise-ish experiences.
On the surface, these things don’t look like “working out.” You might break a sweat while doing them if it’s hot outside, but their real value is in all the ways they move your body over an extended period of time.
“Exercise is a stressor. Movement and exercise are not the same thing. Exercise is simply a form of movement. First thing I tell a high cortisol Sympathetic dominant person is to rest from exercise and move more.”
Most Moving Summer Bucket List
I’m not just going to suggest that you do these physical activities and tell you they are good for your body. I’m going to explain some of the motions involved in each one, so you can fully understand. This is also how I lead the workouts in our home exercise videos here on Fit2B.
When you approach an activity with a mindset toward milking it for more motion, you’re going to be more purposeful with each squat, reach, push, and paddle.
8 Exercise Experiences to Put on Your Summer Bucket List!
Hand-Harvest Fruit — Picking berries or plucking apples involves walking on the farm, reaching to grasp and pluck, kneeling, climbing, bending, carrying, and squatting to pick fruit or place it in containers. My shoulders always feel so much more open after an hour of harvesting raspberries. Strawberries encourage my deep squat.
Have A Campout — Three words: Pitching. A. Tent. That all by itself is a full body workout that includes hammering stakes, sorting and matching poles, wrangling wires and ropes. Then there’s hauling wood for the fire, squatting over it, breathing life into the flames (watch this basic breath work video), and cooking over it.
Hoe A Garden — Beyond hoeing weeds, maintaining even a small garden will have you reaping healthy produce + benefits to your heart, muscles, and mood. Just don’t forget to stretch as you go, because all the shoveling and squatting, bending and pulling makes gardening one of the most injury-producing activities because people forget that it’s a type of workout! Members of Fit2B can watch this video here to learn more!
Head To The Lake — Really, locate any body of water and go to it. Build a sand castle on your hands and knees, keeping your core drawn gently inward. Rent a stand up paddle board for an hour. Borrow a friend’s kayaks. Swim with a buddy and proper floatation devices. Go water skiing, canoeing, dragon boating, fishing … All of those activities (and everything done in or on water) offer loads — literal loads — to your bones and muscles.
Help Someone — That elderly neighbor who can’t mow her own yard, that new mama who is spending up to 11 hours a day feeding her baby and forgetting about vacuuming (rightly so) — they need your help. Call and ask what’s a good time to come over. Show up. Help. The movement your body will get is all the thanks you need. BTW: Find our “Baby Feeding Routine” with soothing shoulder moves anyone can do while tending baby right here!
Have A Water Fight — My son snuck up on my daughter last week and blasted her in the back with a high-powered squirt gun. She was truly madder than an ol’ wet hen, and the chase was instantly on! Pretty soon, the whole family was involved, garden hoses and all. It was a major cardio workout involving all kinds of movement variety!
Harness A Horse — When my family headed to the beach recently, my daughter’s bucket list of activities included riding horses by the ocean. The boy had to be bribed, but that one-hour horseback ride got us all balancing, shifting our weight, practicing our posture, and discovering how thigh muscles can get sore in all new ways!
Hang A Hammock — Have you ever climbed into a hammock? Climbed out of one? Fallen out of one? Yeah, you’ll use some serious muscles to keep yourself upright (a.k.a. stabilization and mobilization), and then you’ll relax and swing gently. Hammocks are wonderful for placing you in a parasympathetic state and balancing your limbic system. It’s just one more way to move your issues … I mean, tissues. 😉
Wait, what about …
Hiking? Swimming? Kayaking? Well, I figured most people already know that those things are an exercise. If that’s news to you, hey, now you know — and maybe you’ll enjoy paddling or playing in the pool even more!
The goal of this fun, fit summer bucket list was to motivate you to plan some activities that encourage you to experience exercise in new formats and see these formats as fitness. All motion is good motion unless it’s hurting you, and the average human needs far more motion than they’re getting these days.
Your turn! Leave a comment!
What activities would you add to my list? Have you done something this summer that you didn’t think of as exercise until you found yourself getting quite the workout? What type of movement have you found yourself enjoying because it wasn’t labeled as “exercise” — just fun?