Memorial Day a.k.a. the unofficial start of summer and the long holiday weekend that accompanies it is often filled with fun gatherings of friends and family, from cookouts to pool parties. It’s also the perfect opportunity to get moving.
Whether you’re craving a little solo sweat time or eager to get active with the whole family, here are a few fun ways to move your body this Memorial Day weekend.
Enjoy some Rush-Free Morning Exercise
If you usually cram your workouts in before busy days kick into gear, take the opportunity to move through your morning sweat at a more relaxed pace this holiday weekend. Whether that means tacking a few extra miles onto your usual run route, catching up with your gym buddies for a little longer in the weight room, or signing up for a later fitness class than usual, take your time. “It’s so easy to get into a routine of rushing through workouts in order to get the kids to school or start the workday,” says certified personal trainer and What’s Good editor Lauren Del Turco, C.P.T. “Giving ourselves a chance to slow down (at least mentally!) and be present during a workout can help it feel more like an act of self-care (read: enjoyable) than just another item to check off the to-do list.”
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Plus, taking time for your favorite workout in the morning can also help you feel good about your health and fitness goals as you head into any barbecues or parties on your social calendar. “Once the day gets going and people are mingling, food is being served, it becomes more and more difficult to motivate and carve out the time to take care of yourself,” says Rachel Welch, certified health coach, yoga instructor, and founder of Revolution Motherhood. “Start your day with movement and the rest of the day will feel easier.”
Plan Outdoor games for the whole family
There are countless recreational sports that require you to get your heart rate up and are fun for the entire family—and the nicer weather that’s typically settled in by MDW makes it the perfect time to get playing. “Whether you go outside and play tennis on tennis courts or change it up and play pickleball, the whole family can get involved as long as you have enough paddles or racquets,” says Chicago-based corporate wellness trainer and yoga instructor Stephanie Mansour. (Order a top-notch pickleball paddle at vitaminshoppe.com) “Playing catch or kicking a soccer ball in the yard is another fun activity that gets you outside in the fresh air and helps improve mobility and strength in the body.”
Walk or bike to your destination instead of driving
So long as it’s within a reasonable distance, Mansour suggests leaving your car at home and opting to walk to places that you’d normally drive to, whether that be to your in-laws for a barbecue, the local coffee shop for a cup of joe, or the park to play with your kids. “Taking the time to walk somewhere that you’d normally drive gives you another activity to partake in rather than just the destination—and the walk can become part of the fun!” she says. Prefer to get pedaling on a bike instead? Strap on your helmet and get on out there.
Hit the trails
As the daylight hours stretch longer into the evening and the weather is more tolerable, Memorial Day weekend is the ultimate time to enjoy nature and explore your favorite hiking trails, notes Jordan Duncan, D.C., a chiropractor at Silverdale Sport & Spine. “Hiking is great exercise, especially when it involves some elevation gain,” he says. “It may be different from your usual weekly exercise routine, making it a fun and challenging way to get active.” Apps like AllTrails can help you find all sorts of trails in your area, from long and more grueling hikes to scenic walking paths.
Take to the water
If you’re lucky enough to live—or spend Memorial Day weekend—near a body of water, Bill Daniels, C.S.C.S., C.P.T., founder of Beyond Fitness, suggests taking full advantage of the bevy of water activities that double as workouts. Two of his favorites: kayaking and canoeing, both of which require you to use your core and arm muscles to paddle. Have access to a pool? Have fun with races, a game of Marco Polo, water-treading contests, or volleyball.