As the weather turns (or will it?! NJ, you’re killin’ me!), you may be looking for ways to get yourself and your family moving outdoors. While it is still important to stay safe, maintain distance and comply with whatever orders are currently in effect where you live, physical activity is of the upmost importance. Most experts agree that exercise helps maintain a healthy immune system and increases endorphines, which are important for improving mental health. Here is my Top Ten list of ways for you and your family to safely stay active this summer:
- Take a hike. Almost everywhere in New Jersey is within a 20 minute ride to some parks or trails. Get out there and explore! It’s best to head out to less popular trails or during low-traffic times. Follow the guidelines on your state/county/ municipal park systems websites. Remember to wear your high socks, bug repellant, and check for ticks before you head back home.
- Ride a bike. With or without your family. Go long or short, fast or slow. If you have young children, let them learn and practice in the driveway or in your neighborhood. Need a balance bike for your toddler? We love this one!
- Go for a run. Inside on a treadmill if you’ve got one (and won’t hate your life doing it), or outside on a safe path, trail, boardwalk, etc. If you head outside, don’t forget your shades and be mindful of others. Off peak hours are still best for avoiding crowds. If you’re looking for a training plan to get some good base miles in, give a shout!
- Scavenger hunts. Create your own list (or find one on Pinterest) of things to search for in your house or neighborhood.
- Backyard (or driveway, in our case) bootcamp. Use what you come across in your own environment and turn it into fitness equipment. Got a bench or stairs? Do some step-ups or box jumps, incline push-ups, tricep dips, practice your pistol squats. Got a jug- milk, water, laundry detergent? Turn it into a kettlebell! Bodyweight, dumbbells, miniband workouts. Do them all.
- Yoga. Online/ YouTube/ local studio’s Zoom classes, etc. Got kids? Google kids yoga videos. They’ll love it.
- Freestyle Dance Party. Go all out solo or with roommates. Indoors or outside. Costumes optional, smiles mandatory.
- Take a fitness challenge. Bring Sally Up, Cha-Cha Slide plank challenge, Roxanne burpee challenge, Thunderstruck by AC/DC hollow rock-to superman challenge. They might hurt tomorrow, but they’ll occupy your time, add something fresh to your fitness routine, and can be fun! Check some of them out with a YouTube search!
- Family Stand-Up Paddle. Take advantage of insanely low pricing on some private one-family-at-a-time sessions on the water offered locally on the L Street Beach in Belmar. Check out www.endlesssupcompany.com to learn how they’re keeping you (and their staff) safe. Registration details coming soon.
- Look for shells and sea glass. Most NJ beaches are open- take a walk down by the water searching for tiny treasures to bring home. Just make sure to check the town website for your beach of choice to see what the rules are regarding badges, parking, and social distancing measures. Please be courteous and respectful to the people around you, the beachfront staff, lifeguards, and those of us who live here.
What are some ways YOU are staying active that didn’t make my list? Share in the comments. And don’t forget to wash your hands.