Whether it's on the court or at the beach, have fun in the sun and get a great workout at the same time.
Matthew Jussim 1 / 14
It’s summertime. Sun’s out. Sleeves are off. And that means it’s time to have some fun—workouts included.
Are you looking to get in a good sweat session without confining yourself to the gym like you did all winter? Lacking motivation to get back out on the track for a run? Don’t worry—there are plenty of things to do this season that can help you stay in shape while adding some adventure to the mix.
So this summer, instead of slowly broiling yourelf in the sun by the pool or adding to your waistline at barbecues, slap on some sunscreen and hit the road. By the time fall comes around, you'll have plenty to brag about to your friends while they're complaining about not getting enough done this summer.
Here's a look at the best sports and fitness activities for your Summer Bucket List.
Run a 5k
Running a long-distance race is a great way to make some big moves, accomplish a big goal, or at the very least take a spin in those running shoes you bought a few months ago but haven't quite broken in yet. Plus, a 5k or a 10k is all about preparation, so it'll get you in the habit of running (and your beach body will profit).
Start things off at the beginning of the summer with a race day in mind—remember, you usually need to register in advance—and work towards that goal. Check out a directory of races this summer to find one in your area, pick one, and start preparing for a new personal best.
Check out the Men’s Fitness 5K training guide and you’ll be ready to go in no time. Before you know it, it'll be snowing again with freezing cold temperatures, and you’ll be glad you got this done when it was still beautiful out every day.
Playing basketball is one of the best all-around workouts you can get—hoops will work your calves, thighs, and core, all while building stamina as you hustle up and down the court—so grab some friends for a little two-on-two or three-on-three ball. Want to up the stakes? Throw some muscle into it: The losing team has to do 30 pushups each time they drop a game, while the winners do just 15.
Want to take a break from a tournament? Switch to “Knockout.” The schoolyard game requires two basketballs and can be played with as many people as you want. Everyone lines up at the foul line, then the first player shoots. If the player misses, he continues to shoot until he makes the basket. But if the second player makes his shot or basket before that, the first player is “knocked out.” (For proof of how fun it can be, watch Miami Heat star Dwyane Wade play knockout with some kids.)
If you really, really want to get a workout while playing, add this: Each time someone gets knocked out, they have to do 20 pushups, situps, or jumping jacks—it’s up to you.
Summer is the perfect time to sit and watch a game. But if you don’t want to be glued to your seat for three-plus hours, going to a baseball game still offers some good options to help your fitness when it comes to food and spectating. Most stadiums have natural foods and healthy products to inhale instead of hot dogs and popcorn, and they also offer plenty of walking space.
But just because it's baseball doesn't mean you have to sit on your ass the whole time. In between innings, take a quick run up the stairs to the upper deck, or do another lap around the stadium to take in the atmosphere with fans all around. And keep your eyes open for foul balls.
If you’re looking to add some thrill and adventure to your life in the summer, hitting the great outdoors for a mountain climb is a great way to do it. Take a drive out of the suburbs and watch as the horizon line gets dotted with hills, trees, wildlife, and some mountain peaks. Going for a climb is a great way to have fun and get in shape—and it can give you the chance to work out your legs, arms, back, and shoulders all at the same time. But before you go scaling Mt. Everest, check out our list of must-have climbing gear for the essential things you’ll need for your workout.
Okay, maybe can't all manage a 6-minute mile. But even if you're more Rocky than Steve Prefontaine, take a long-term look and use the summer to get yourself in peak running form to set your best time ever running a mile.
Start off by timing yourself and see where you stand, then take a look at the Men's Fitness training program to help you reach your goal in just six weeks. That timeframe makes it a perfect activity to do during the summer—and it offers the chance to get creative as well: hit the track at the gym one day, go for a run in the park another day. You’ll hit your goal in no time.
Pushups are a great way to build your chest, arms, and shoulders. So why not give yourself a challenge this summer and try to get to 100 per day for an entire week? If that number seems like too much to start, try the Men's Fitness pushup test figure out how many pushups you can do to set your max.
You can do them all at once—that’s the real challenge—or split them up through the day. Up to you, dude. Either way, pick a number and make sure to hit it each day.
It sounds funny, but after a few days of this, your day will feel incomplete without doing those pushups. Try doing at least 15-30 pushups in the morning after you wake up—it'll make you feel like you already accomplished something before your workday even gets started.
Oh, and if 100 is too easy, feel free to up the number just to give yourself a challenge. Be sure to follow the Men’s Fitnesspushup plan—it can help you increase your number every two weeks during the summer and give you a killer upper-body workout.
Learn handstand pushups—and how to walk on your hands
Change your perspective this summer: Turn your world upside-down for a workout, which will help you build some boulder shoulders and perfect those t-shirt muscles.
Take a look at the Men's Fitness guide to perfecting the handstand pushup, and then give it a try on your own. You may find that walking on your hands is actually a cool way to get around—even if it’s not very efficient.
What's the best way to break a sweat and keep cool on an absurdly hot day? Simple: Hit the water.
Swimming's one of the best total-body workouts around, and it'll build your cardio as you work your forearms, calves, groin, biceps, pecs, and quads all at once. Check out any lakes or natural bodies of water near you and plan a little excursion with a few friends. (Just keep an eye out for dangerous swimming conditions like rip currents, and swim in a guarded area when possible.)
And just for fun, in between each workout, build part of a sand castle. If that's not enough, do what the kids do and dig a hole down as far as you can go before hitting water—that'll give you a great arm workout.
If you want to hit the water but get a little farther than you would just by swimming, jump in a kayak. It's a nice way to get an upper-body workout in the great outdoors, as the paddling works your arms, shoulders, biceps, triceps, core, and back. Feeling a little hot? Jump in for a swim, and you'll really get a total-body workout.
Taking a long walk into the the wild burns serious calories, and if you want to take a quick break, you can always do some calisthenics to stay loose and pass the time. (Don’t forget to bring along some water, some wilderness prep tools, and a few protein-packed snacks.)
You might also want to consider bringing a lady friend along—we asked a bunch of women about their favorite crazy places to have sex, and guess what: a hike made the list. Better plan that trip.
Jumping on the bike is a fun way to explore the outdoors while burning away all that ice cream you ate last weekend. Look for a scenic route in your town or city (maybe somewhere by the water), and take your bike out for a spin. Riding will give you a great leg workout—hitting your quads, hamstrings, glutes, and calves all at once—and if you run a lot, it’ll give your ankles and knees a nice break from smacking the concrete.
And sure, riding the bike in the gym is always a good cardio workout. But do yourself a favor and get outside while the weather’s still nice.
Remember the days of skipping class to go have fun in the park on a beautiful day? Do it again.
Grab some friends and head out for some football, but without the fear of giving someone a concussion with a hard tackle. If you're not used to sprint training, you'll be surprised how sore you are the next day. Solution? Bust out the barbeque. Just make sure to follow the Men's Fitness guide to healthy grilling.