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With only a month left of summer, it’s important to get back to the basics. Think to yourself: have you been keeping up with your exercise? It can be easy to just sit back and say “I’m on vacation!” when family members or friends want you to go jogging with them, but isn’t it better to keep up with an exercise routine when it’s nice out? While playing the “beach bum” sometimes is a healthy way to veg out, it’s important to know when to step up and take control of your body again. Personally, I’m guilty of turning down invitations to go play tennis or go to the gym in favor of lying out with a good book, but there’s a limit to how much of that you can do without becoming lazy. When you’re in full-on vacation mode, what can you do to keep up your physical fitness in a painless, enjoyable way?

1. Pick an activity that interests you and run with it (possibly literally!) If you can find an activity that involves exercise that you actually enjoy doing, it won’t be so hard to get yourself to go out and work up a sweat! For example, I’ve found that I enjoy doing yoga, which actually isn’t as easy as it looks. While it’s a stereotypically “relaxing” activity, it can actually be pretty strenuous – however, I usually come out of the hour class feeling simultaneously tired out and relaxed. As long as you find some form of exercise that gets you excited to work out, whether it be running, a sport like soccer or basketball, or even just hitting the exercise bikes at the gym, whatever gets your blood pumping is a good use of your time.

2. Get a group of friends or family members to join and/or support you! Why should exercise be a solitary activity, especially during the summer when outdoor activities are prime for groups? Ask some people close to you who also might want to get back into fitness to accompany you to an exercise class or if that’s not what they’re into, local YWCAs or recreation departments, for example, have tons of different activities to choose from. As long as you have support in your exercise endeavors, it’s easier to get back out there and feel motivated to stay active!

3. Schedule in at least half an hour a day to move. You could be doing something as simple as a beginner’s fitness DVD or taking a walk around your block – every bit of exercise counts to your body. If you work up your endurance over time by taking out time every day for an activity, your body will thank you for it, plus you’ll be able to keep up the pace longer. It’s important to keep yourself keep moving, no matter what – keeping up exercise over time will keep you healthier and help you live longer!

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4. Get outside. It’s the summer, so there’s no reason for you to be inside all of the time! The fresh air will do you good and there are plenty of ways you can get your strong, independent self some quality work-outs. Even just walking around the park or getting to the beach for a short swim can be the difference between being inactive and an active participant in life!

5. Use exercise as a way to rev yourself up or wind down. If you’re like me, exercise isn’t the way I relax, but more of a way to get myself pumped up for a day. However, I have some family members who claim that by working out, they are able to feel better about themselves in a relaxing way. Either way your brain works, if you correlate exercising with positive imaging, it’ll be more likely that you’ll keep up with the fitness in the future. Sisters, get yourselves out there and get your body moving!

Exercising and getting your body moving might be strenuous and hard to think about for some, but even during the summer, it’s important to keep up the fitness and not slack off on yourself! While a bit of rest and relaxation are always called for, there’s a fine line between taking a break from your daily stresses and being lazy. Be the strong, independent women you are and find some way to stay healthy, happy, and in-shape during the end of the warm weather!

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