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Influential Summer Fitness Trends

min read

By Lauren MacDonald

Summer is in full swing and it’s time to go outside and enjoy the sun and warm weather. Like many others, you probably want to look and feel good when you hit the beach. The good news is, it’s easy and fun to reach your health and fitness goals by taking advantage of the weather and outdoor activities that come along with summer. You can easily mix up your fitness routine and do something new by trying out some of this year’s summer fitness trends.

Whether you enjoy sports, want to push yourself beyond your regular race training, or have a desire to just get outside and go, summer is the perfect time to do so. So skip the gym and try out some of these 10 influential summer fitness trends…

Obstacle-Style Races

Gone are the days of running regular races and marathons. Obstacle-style races have emerged as one of the trendiest ways to get fit while having fun doing it. They get you in great shape because not only do you have to train for the cardio and endurance aspect like regular races, but the obstacles require strength and flexibility, and often teamwork.

There are many obstacle-style races to choose from but Tough Mudder seems to be the most popular and generally, very difficult because the obstacles are based on military training courses. The summer is the perfect time to challenge yourself with an obstacle-style race and get in fantastic shape training for it.

Ultimate Frisbee

Playing sports are a fun way to get or stay in shape, and team sports offer a social and competitive aspect you don’t get when pounding out the miles on a treadmill. Ultimate Frisbee has been popping up in cities everywhere, and has emerged as a popular summer sport that requires a surprising level of fitness. A mix of running, lunging, diving, blocking, pivoting and tossing, requires endurance, strength and agility.

Similar to football, points are scored by your teammate catching the disc (Frisbee) in the opposing team’s end zone. With popularity in the sport growing, many leagues now offer Ultimate Frisbee year-round, so you can continue playing after the summer months.

Rowing or Kayaking

There’s something peaceful and relaxing about getting in a row boat or kayak and hitting the open water. While both can be physically tiring and require endurance and strength, the repetitive motions can be quite soothing–it’s easy to get in the zone and lose track of time.

The basics of kayaking and rowing are simple, so even if you’ve never done it before, it’s easy enough to pick up. Both sports give you a total upper body workout that builds and tones muscles in your back, core, arms and shoulders, with rowing also working your legs.

Outdoor CrossFit

Crossfit is a strength- and conditioning-focused style of exercise using several routines that offer a lot of variety and high intensity workout moves. Because of the variety, you’ll never get bored, and there are tons of gyms and CrossFit centres that offer outdoor classes in the summer.

You get a full-body workout through exercises that test your endurance, strength, flexibility, speed, balance and agility. Led by an instructor in a group setting, you’re pushed and motivated in a way similar to what you would experience with a personal trainer. If you’re up for challenging yourself, CrossFit is the way to go.

Stand Up Paddle Boarding

Paddle boarding is a popular exercise that many celebrities have been doing for years and it’s gaining ground for everyone else now too. Using a large board, similar to a surfboard, you stand and use a paddle to move across the water. It looks like an easy exercise but it’s deceiving. Paddle boarding requires a lot of core strength, balance and stamina.

You’re not likely to go far or fast your first time out but you’ll have fun getting in shape. An added bonus is that it can be done on almost any body of water, big or small, so whether you’re at the ocean or a small local pond, you can get a great workout.


Though cycling can be done outside year-round in some places, it’s a popular workout in the summer months–it gets you outside to enjoy the weather while working out several muscles, building cardiovascular strength and burning significant calories. Contrary to what it may seem, cycling uses more than your legs–your core is lightly engaged for balance and various muscles in your arms are used on different terrains.

Cycling is also easy to fit into your schedule. You can ride your bike to work or run small errands instead of driving your car, getting exercise when it doesn’t even seem like it.

Boot Camp

Boot camps are a wildly popular and trendy way to get in shape, especially this summer. You’ll likely feel exhausted, but in a good way, after each session, and every muscle will feel like it’s been worked. Every boot camp is different, but they typically have a cardiovascular aspect, mixed in with strength exercises.

No equipment is needed to take part in outdoor boot camps because they use bodyweight moves for the strength training aspect. And boot camps are rain or shine, which adds a little bit of adventure and fun to your sessions–you’d be surprised at how invigorating rain can be.

Bodyweight Exercises

It can be hard to get in your regular workouts in the summer months because of travel and the desire to be outside–or at least, not to be inside at a gym. That’s why bodyweight exercises have climbed the trend ladder and won’t be going anywhere.

Bodyweight exercises are moves that don’t require equipment. Sometimes they use things in your surroundings, like a park bench, stairs or jungle gym. They can get you in shape just as well as (and sometimes even better) than exercise equipment, and you won’t get bored because there are hundreds of bodyweight exercises you can try.

Beach Volleyball

If you’ve ever walked on dry sand, you know it can be killer on your calves. That’s part of why beach volleyball is such a good workout–the sand provides natural resistance to step up the intensity. You’ll burn a lot of calories and strengthen and tone the muscles in your core, legs and arms.

It’s also a social game that requires a lot of teamwork, so it doesn’t feel like you’re working out. You’re bound to have fun doing it, even if you’re just a beginner. And don’t worry, you don’t need to live near a beach, sand volleyball courts and leagues are popping up everywhere.

Outdoor Yoga

Outdoor yoga is a trendy way to get in shape that adds a new layer to doing yoga. Yoga requires relaxing the body and mind, and it’s integral to learn the right breathing technique to do so. With outdoor yoga, you connect with nature and enjoy the natural elements–a slight breeze; the warmth of the sun and your natural surroundings really connects you to your workout.

Outdoor yoga is trendy, so more and more summer classes are becoming available. Or, if you do yoga regularly and don’t need a class, just take yourself to a quiet spot in the park and do your routine there.

Lauren MacDonald


Lauren is a freelance writer with experience researching and writing about a wide range of topics, from healthy living and exercise to environmental trends and advocacy. She is a huge yoga enthusiast and has a love of healthy cooking.

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