Diversity is Key to Desert Summer Fitness
Many of us get stuck in a rut when it comes to fitness routines. This is especially true in summer; a time when it seems hard to push the body physically in a high temperature climate.
Keeping physically fit has everything to do with surprising the body! If boredom sets in, we are more likely to want to skip a day of exertion. As soon as a fitness routine is treated as an adventure, we feel a vibrancy and attraction to daily exercise like never before.
Here are a few forms of exercise that can be incorporated into a desert lifestyle during the hot summer months:
Road and Mountain Cycling
During the desert summer, the coolest and most serene time is early morning (approx. 6:00 am). Take this time to cycle the streets for a peak caloric burn with no impact on the joints. There are a number of local cycling clubs with introductory rides. The best way to ensure a longlasting fitness program is to get involved with a club, community or group that supports your goals. Cycling can be one of the most social, energetic, and fun pastimes. From riding next to fellow enthusiasts to grabbing morning coffee mid-ride at a local coffee shop, cycling is an activity that is sure to sculpt the body and create a feeling of gratification. Many desert dwellers are not aware of a few amazing bike routes that are an hour away, provide cooler temperatures and the opportunity to ride bikes without the concern for traffic. The Santa Ana River Trail is just the right biking experience. Ride into Newport Beach, grab lunch and return to a stop off point such as Yorba Linda Park for an amazing day. If mountain biking is of interest the town of Idyllwild is the perfect destination. This mountain community has single- and double-track trails with the beauty of nature, cooler temperatures and the ability to rent a cabin to stay overnight!
Now is the time to take advantage of your local swim center. For a nominal fee, a swim lane for laps is always open. Swimming on average burns 600 calories per hour. It is also non-impact movement that is cooling and great for whole body toning. One idea–swim a half hour of laps at the Palm Desert Civic Park and then run around the park in your bathing suit to keep cool (you won’t be the only one!). Every circle perimeter of the park is a mile, so push yourself! Putting two forms of movement together will produce great results. Our bodies are only as fit as the diversity reflected in our movement.
Another desert landmark is our beautiful, tranquil mountains. Buy a season pass up the Tram and journey out on 54 miles of hiking with a level of hike for everyone. (Bring layers as the temperature differential is always approximately 30 degrees!) Hiking provides cardio benefits and helps relieve mental stress. With stress levels being at an all-time high, hiking allows us the “me time” we all need.
The natural environs of the Coachella Valley are an added benefit to many of these activities. Who says we must stay cooped up inside during the summer months? Get creative and get outside–provide yourself with a summer adventure each week to ensure there is a true diversity of movement. This will reflect in all aspects of personal joy and wellness.
Jennifer is a Desert native with 20 years of experience in the spa industry. She is the Spa and Sports Club Director at Toscana Country Club in Indian Wells.