Hitting the gym in summer? You betcha!

Summer is probably not the time of year when most of you think about using a gym. In fact, such use almost seems incongruous. After all, why choose to meet one’s physical fitness goals in an enclosed space when the great outdoors beckons in a way that it doesn’t during the colder months of the year? Well, there are benefits to making the most of both settings. Here are a couple of reasons to check out a gym near you.

A key perk to using a fitness membership in summer is that many people don’t. Most days, I have the gym to myself, at least for part of my workout, and this means zero time spent waiting for any piece of equipment. So, even if you get enough of a cardio workout with your usual summertime outdoor activities, the gym is still useful for your strength training. You are incorporating some strength training, right? There can be other benefits, too, to an essentially deserted gym. In an earlier posting I mentioned my love of dancing. Just between you and me, when no one’s around, I take advantage of the wall-to-wall mirrors to practice my dance moves. It’s like my personal dance studio.

The summer is also a great time to try out different fitness classes without getting lost in the crowd. Smaller class sizes make it easier for instructors to ensure you are using proper form as well as to answer any questions you may have. Some of you may find it intimidating being a newbie in a class of veterans, so smaller class sizes can help you ease into a new activity. Until this past May (okay, technically that’s still spring) I’d only toyed with the idea of trying a spin class. Part of what kept me from them was I never really thought of myself as a group exerciser. But this year, the smaller class size (and the fact that one of the instructors kept asking me to join in) tipped the scale, and I decided to give it a whirl. I am glad I did because I love it! Surprisingly, I especially love it when we have a good turnout. There is something motivating in the camaraderie around a shared group groan when the instructor calls out for yet another hill climb, jump, or sprint.

Of course, it is a good idea to check things out with your doctor before going gung-ho into a new activity, especially if you are new to exercising. And, as always, listen to your body and go at a pace and intensity that is appropriate for your fitness level.

By Susan Down

Susan Down is an educator with a keen interest in healthy living. She works out regularly at a local gym and always starts and ends her day dancing like there’s no tomorrow.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in blog entries are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Heart Niagara.

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