Article By: Maria Tucker, MPH, RDN, LDN, CDCES
Maria Tucker is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator with over 20 years of experience assisting patients with diabetes, obesity, and nutrition-related conditions. Maria is also the Founder of MyBiyaya.com, a site dedicated to healthy recipes and kitchen shortcuts.
Ahhh, the dog days of summer... It’s hot outside, afternoon storms appear out of nowhere, and the last thing you think of is EXERCISE! Whether you’ve had bariatric surgery or not, it’s not fun to exercise outdoors when the temperature soars into the 90s and beyond. Your skin gets sticky with sweat, you get tired more easily, and it can be just down right yucky! However, to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight, physical activity is an important part of one’s routine. Here are some summer activities you can do outdoors to make being outside more bearable and fun!
1) Flying disc toss. The Frisbee, trademarked by the toy company Wham-O, had its humble beginnings in 1937 when Walter Frederick Morrison and Lucille, his future wife, tossed around a popcorn can lid and realized there was a market for this “toy”. Fast forward to 1964, when Ed Headrick re-designed the disc, promoted it as a sport, and the rest as the saying goes, is history! Today, there is even an International Frisbee Association. Most people know what to do with this 8 to 10 inch diameter disc. Tossing this flying disc around for just 30 minutes can burn ~100 calories!
2) Swimming. A great way to cool off, swimming also helps you burn up to 200 calories in just 30 minutes. Swimming is gentle on your joints, and because you are resisting the water, it uses most of the muscles in your body, giving you a full body workout. An added bonus – you don’t sweat when you are in the pool since the water is constantly cooling you off!
3) Dancing. Whether on your deck in the middle of the day or under the moonlight, moving to the beat of a good summer song will lift your mood and burn calories to boot! The American Council on Exercise (ACE) states that 30 minutes of dancing can burn 130 to 250 calories depending on the style of dance you do. So, bring out your dancing shoes and cha cha cha!
4) Exploring. No, I don’t mean pulling out your whip and slashing through the jungle like Indiana Jones. I'm talking about taking time to walk outdoors and explore the sights and sounds around you, be it in your neighborhood or the town or city you are visiting this summer. Make it a game of "I Spy" with your kids, and time will just fly by. Try going up and down hills for a more challenging stroll. You could burn more than 120 calorie and maybe learn a new thing or two about your neighborhood or wherever you may be.
5) Gardening. Digging in the dirt, weeding a flower bed, growing vegetables... Not only will you reap the benefits of having a beautiful yard or fresh veggies for your dinner, but doing these activities for at least half an hour can also help you burn at least 130 calories. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) considers gardening as exercise and can be moderate to vigorous exercise depending on what gardening activity you do. Gardening provides exposure to sunlight, which helps you produce vitamin D, a key nutrient in many body functions including building strong bones, regulating hormones, and boosting your immune system. Gardening has also been shown to relieve stress, and people who participate in community gardens have been found to have a decreased sense of loneliness and an increased sense of belonging.
Before you go out there and engage in any outdoor activity, remember these tips: hydrate well, take breaks often, and don’t go out there “hangry”!
BariMelts provides general recommendations, not to be construed as medical advice. Please consult your doctor.