Wednesday, July 27, 2011

"Hot Summer: Hot Workouts - A guide to Summer Outdoor Activities."

"Hot Summer: Hot Workouts - A guide to Summer Outdoor Activities."

I would be remiss not to admit that this native Bostonian had a bit of trouble transitioning into the summer heat of Florida after moving here in 2007, but for the past four years, I've been trying to get outside as much as I did up North, even in the sweltering dog days of a summer in Tampa. So what are the best outdoor activities in the equatorial region during the hottest months of the year? Check out my attempts (and failures) at getting to know (and running away from) the local ecosystem!

1. Biking (Ft. Myers Beach) Or carriage pedaling...I recommend the carriage because of it's shade and easy camaraderie with your companions. There are lots of local trails for road biking and mountain biking as well: Tom and I had a fabulous off-road adventure in the backwoods of Flatwoods Park (New Tampa) during a thunderstorm, where we saw a dozen armadillos which come out in the rain to dodge the heat.

 2. Walking (during non-noon hours). While training for he Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure, Rachel and I walked through every kind of heat on our 12-hour days here in Tampa all summer long last year. Surprisingly: as long as we stayed hydrated (water and G2) and ate enough snacks, it wasn't intolerable. The best hours were pre-sunrise (6AM-9AM). The worst hours (which had us fleeing mass quantities of uber-poisonous Water Moccasins) was surprisingly at sunset (5-7PM) when the snakes come out to warm themselves on the warm bike track. 

3. Go horseback Riding. Recently I was debating the athletic-nature of horseback riding with Rachel and she won when she countered with, "are your legs muscles sore after riding?" Touché! Surprisingly, you can burn 170 calories per hour at a walking-gait on a horse! That's a fun way to burn calories! 

 4. Rock Climbing. (Or wall climbing: that's me up there on the right racing Melissa!) Rock climbing takes an amazing amount of muscle strength (apparently I'm doing it wrong using mostly my arms- and leaning out when you're supposed to stay up close up agains the wall). But a great workout! 

5. Ropes Courses. Since my summers at Camp Finberg, I've always loved the high (and low) ropes courses. (See photo of me hanging upside down on the zipline at Circle F Dude Ranch below). I'm sure there are some good calories spent here doing these types of activities...and probably even more if you have anxiety and a fear of heights! So perhaps I should find something a little more "intensive" since hanging upside-down at fast speeds seems to de-stress me more than challenge me. 

6. Theme Parks! Theme parks combine thrills with all-day walking and sweating! All of these combine for a exciting way to beat the heat! (Especially with water rides: see Nicole, Rachel, Laura and I on Splash Mountain at left!)

7. Golfing. (Even the driving range can make your arms stiff for days!) Great for muscle tone, burning off steam and torso-rotations! You can add walking mileage in you golf a 9 or 18-hole course. 

8. Kayaking is a great way to see the alligators manatees in Florida. There are some great rental companies (such as in Homasassa Springs)  where you can get close to the manatees and Monkey Island. 

9. Beach Sports! Swimming, walking, jogging/running, stretching, yoga, catch, skim-boarding, fun-yaking, frisbee, football, boot camp, sand castle building, snorkeling, diving and more! 

10. Scuba Diving! You can't beat the water clarity/visibility of the Florida Keys! Finding buoyancy, swimming, carrying heavy weight, and breathing techniques make for an ideal play/fun athletic sport! 

What do you do to beat the summer dog days? Post a comment below!