Ways to beat the lazy days of summer

A month ago, I was literally dressing my child in his winter coat to go play outside here in Newfoundland, while my Facebook feed was full of pictures of my friends’ children in other provinces in their bathing suits at outdoor water parks. As of last week, it seems that summer has finally arrived, thankfully!

Along with the warm weather comes the chance to spend sunny weekday evenings or lazy weekend afternoons on the deck of a downtown bar with a drink, or your own patio with a barbecue.

Your gym membership becomes a sort of bi-weekly monetary donation to a local business, right? Especially in this province, when we get so few days that are sunny and hot and not windy, all at the one time, we tend to want to make the most of them, instead of working out.


Mike Samson is a St. John’s-based personal trainer and a dad of one with a master’s degree in kinesiology and a background in martial arts. He’s been a friend of mine for years and years, so I look to him when I want honest advice on my fitness routine or a swift kick in the butt to get it in gear.

“Exercising in the summer can be a challenge,” he says. “Not everyone loves the gym and the lure of a deck beer or barbecue can change your well-intentioned plans.”

Here are Mike’s relatively painless tips for fitting in fitness and staying motivated during the summer:

  • Walk your dog, or volunteer at your local SPCA. You might not feel obligated to exercise for your own reasons, but committing to an animal you own or who is in need is a great way to get some extra exercise in.
  • Exercise in the morning. Mornings are easier to handle (less warm) when the sun is up, and whether it’s a run in the park or a trip to the gym, you’ll have your workout done and still be free after work for that Corona or deck barbecue.
  • Sign up for an event. Road races and fun runs are popular in the summer months. Maybe a simple 5K, a triathlon, or a popular mud run would motivate you to be ready and keep you on track. These events are often fun and come with a party at the end, so it’s a win-win.
  • Play a sport. The gym or exercising for the sake of exercising isn’t everyone’s thing, so sign up for soccer, volleyball, tennis, or any sport that interests you. You don’t have to be good, just pick something you think is fun and go!

Mike says your social calendar doesn’t even have to suffer for the sake of fitness: get your friends together for an afternoon of paintball, a hike or a swim. Invite some friends with families over for a game of ball hockey on the street or basketball in the driveway.

“Your kids don’t need a gym membership to stay in shape,” Mike points out. “They just play. There’s a lot to learn from them.”

How do you stay motivated to exercise in the summer?

ParticipACTION and the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador are working together, with support from Recreation NL, to inspire families to make physical activity a higher priority in daily life.