I LOVE summer.

The 80 degree weather, no classes to worry about (unless you’re taking summer classes like I am, but let’s pretend on this one), and endless time to try out new and fun workouts.

Granted, not everyone who works out thinks about that last one, but if you’re anything like me, getting in a good sweat sesh is the highlight of your day.

Instead of being stuck in the gym or traveling to a local ski mountain to switch up a workout like you do during the winter, there are so many ways to stay active during the summer. That’s why I think the summer is the best time for beginners to start their fitness journey. Here are some ideas for how to stay active and definitely work your muscles during the summer. I guarantee you will be sore/tired/starving after you do some of these. (And once you’re done, try out this summertime snack for some post-workout refuel.)

Hiking/Trail Walks

I know not everyone lives in a place where they are surrounded by mountains, trails, and that delicious forest smell that makes me so happy. But chances are, you don’t live too far from a place like this. Not everywhere will have mountains (my town/county doesn’t) but there are still so many trails and parks out there to walk through!

If the trail you find is more of a walk than a hike, you can incorporate some jogging or sprints in the middle, or even add in some bodyweight workouts like lunges and squats every time you hit an intersection. Have fun with it! For me, running has always been really difficult, but I find when I run on trails I can run for much longer without getting bored and I enjoy it so much more when I’m surrounded by beautiful scenery.


In a pool, laps are a given, but it can get boring going back and forth over the same small lane 100 times (or, if you’re like me, 10 times and then calling it a day).

Think about it… the treadmill can get pretty dull, too, if you’re just going at the same speed the whole time. So what do people do? Interval training! Same goes with swimming.

Wanna kicking your own ass and get a good cardio workout? I am not a swimmer so these may not be the technical terms, but I think you get the jist:

Swim slowly (lets call it jogging) 100m
Sprint 25m, jog 75m
Sprint 50m, jog 50m
Sprint 75m, jog 25m
Sprint 100m
Repeat as desired

If you’re lucky and live near an ocean or a lake, just idly swimming around – or even just treading water – will still keep your heart rate elevated.

There are also so many water sports at your disposal: kayaking, paddle-boarding, water skiing (if you’re adventurous and have access to the equipment)… the list goes on! These are some of my favorite activities because I rarely feel like I am even working out while I’m doing them, but once I’m finished you can bet my arms are sore and I’m ready for some grub.


During the summer, there are a ton of sports leagues you can join: softball, soccer, beach volleyball… like with water sports, the possibilities are endless.

If you’re like me and would rather just play whenever you’re in the mood, it’s never hard to find a few people to go grab a ball or a net and mess around. I always underestimate how exhausted I can get after a quick 2 vs 2 basketball game or throwing a ball around outside for 30 minutes.

If you bring a soccer ball or volleyball to the beach, you can get a workout in AND get yo’ tan on. 


Like I mentioned before, I am not a huge fan of running. But being able to run on the beach, through trails, or just in the beautiful weather makes me appreciate the fact that I’m in the sun outside and not on a treadmill.  Sometimes, that’s all the motivation I need to push myself through an impressively long run. Running on the beach works your stabilizers and other less-used muscle groups in your legs. Plus, I bet it’ll be a lot easier to get friends to run with you if you say you’re going to the beach. 

There are so many ways to stay active during the summer while making your workouts fun. This is especially true with workouts that you wouldn’t even think of as workouts, but they end up turning into them. My advice to you this summer?

Just get outside and do something!

Whenever someone asks you to go outside, go to the track with them, play some tennis, or even bike around town, say YES every time. If weight loss or improving fitness is a goal of yours but you’re not a huge fan of the gym, becoming a “yes man” could help you reach your health goals, all in the process of taking advantage of the warm summer months. 

About The Author

Jenna Bernard is a current Cornell student studying nutrition and exercise science. She loves all things fitness including running, lifting, swimming, crossfit, high intensity interval training, and jumping on the bed. When she's not cooking or lifting, Jenna enjoys making things for friends and family and taking advantage of the outdoors, hiking in particular. She's looking forward to spreading the joys of fitness!

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