One of the best parts of summer to be outdoors to enjoy the hot weather! Although hiking and biking are arguably the two most popular activities, water sports are a great option for staying active and having fun while outdoors. Here are some of our favorite options.
A kayak paddling can be a great workout because it involves your upper body and core to move the boat forward. Kayak (and canoe) can be used in almost any water. From lake to river to sea, kayaking is a versatile water sport. Many local lakes and reservoirs will offer rental within hours, half days or full days.
Stand up paddle boarding (SUP)
This is the ultimate full body workout. Stand-up paddle boarding requires core engagement and upper body strength as well as strength and durability from the lower body to paddle and move the board. Another versatile water sport that can be done on a lot of water, paddle boarding can be made more accessible for those who are kneeling or sitting on the board until they feel balanced enough. Inflatable paddle boards are easy to store and are sold at various retailers and online, including Costco. Also check your local reservoir or lake for rental options.
Although indoor swimming can be done during the colder months (if you haven’t already, check out VASA’s three-lane lap pools), whole-body energy and cardiovascular benefits remain the same throughout the year. When you jump into the water to swim a few laps, upper body strength, lower body stamina and core stability all improve. An added benefit of swimming outdoors is making vitamin D, which helps maintain bone and skin health.
Wake boarding and water skiing
Check your balance when running a boat wake (small wave) on a wake board or water ski. 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 become stronger over time, you can try other advanced techniques to increase the challenge.
White water rafting is a summer tradition for those who live in mountainous areas. Work as a team with your friends on a rubber raft while you are floating in the river and face the rapids that may try to throw you off the raft. Strong arms, shoulders and core should help to paddle and guide the raft. Splashes of cold mountain water will enliven and cool you, but you will have so much fun forgetting that you are exercising!
Before going to the lake or river, spend time preparing for your activities and build strength and endurance in your arms, shoulders, upper back, core and legs in the gym. Most of these games require full-body energy and you will be able to enjoy them even more with a high baseline of energy!