By Lacey Severins – Refresh Contributing Writer
Officially, the first day of summer is June 21, but in a snow-laden city like Buffalo, summer theoretically begins when sunshine trumps snow, when you can see green grass and blue skies, and temperatures top 50 degrees.
In other words, this weekend.
Lots of folks in the Western New York region, or anywhere in the country that knows what a foot of snow looks like, are gearing up for the warm months ahead, prepping their figures for bathing suit season by logging loads of hours working out both indoors and outdoors.
Now that the sun-filled blue skies and fresh air of spring are abound, many of us are eager to break away from free weights, treadmills and spin bikes and truly head where the grass is greener.
But before we turn our backs on the gyms, the yoga and Pilates studios, and personal trainers who were there for us during the most dismal and disheartening winter months, perhaps there is a way to harmonize both the great outdoors with the reliable indoors to obtain the perfect summer workout.
Gilbert Hamilton, a personal trainer at the Lockport Athletic & Fitness Club, spoke to me about a variety of ways to get into or stay in “summer shape.”
“I think the most important thing is to do just that, participate. There are so many different leagues and clubs that form during the spring/summer months and most cost very little or are free all together. Softball/baseball, volleyball and soccer leagues, to mention a few.
“Those looking for a higher level of physical training can find boot camps. This program consists of vigorous workouts including tire flips and plyometric workouts. If you are looking to get fit outside, you have several options and less excuses.”
For the dedicated gym junkie who enjoys group classes, or just the simple desire to make the most of the one-year membership they signed up for in January, rejoice – there are workouts you just cannot do outdoors.
“The benefits of indoor workouts include two things that outdoor activities do not: controlled climate/environment and access to various training equipment that you just don't have access to outdoors. Outdoor activities are often cancelled due to inclement weather and we sure have had a lot of that in these first few weeks of spring. You probably aren't going find any leg press machines or bench presses outside in a park.”
So what activities work for which people? And how can they maximize their workouts? Hamilton suggests that “new to fitness” individuals take advantage of options available at gyms and health clubs like beginner yoga and Pilates classes that focus more on proper breathing, toning, increasing range of motion and flexibility, and Zumba, step aerobics and spinning which emphasize cardiovascular endurance segments.
For those with advanced fitness backgrounds, they can participate in more rigorous regiments including Crossfit and Les Mills body pump classes.
But if you are someone who sees a snowless landscape out your window as your green light to go outside, get involved in a challenging race or two.
“Participate in the various runs and obstacle courses that continue to grow in popularity. Tough Mudder runs, Spartan runs, Color Me Rad just to name a few,” Hamilton said. “Having a goal can be very motivating for most people! It keeps you focused because you know that you have to be able to run 3 miles or climb over a barrier.”
With so many options available to both the novice and experienced exerciser, there is truly something for everyone. So no excuses – get out there and make this summer a healthy and fitness filled one to remember.