Your most memorable summer yet: 9 out-of-the-box activities to try
Looking for some fresh ideas for your summer bucket list? You’re in luck. Vitality Magazine namechecks some activities to make it a summer you won’t forget
It’s not just health benefits that make getting active worthwhile. As well as being fun, regular physical activity can help maintain our thinking, learning and judgment skills as we age.
And the summer is a great time to try new things. Being out in the sunshine boosts our vitamin D intake, while taking to the outdoors todecompress and enjoy nature can also do wonders for our mental health.
From discovering newsports to getting outside and letting your creative juices flow, we’ve got you covered this summer if you’re in need of some inspiration.
Some new, others not so... why not give these new, less usual or too-easily forgotten activities a go?
What would you get if you cross cardio, strength and Pilates with hip hop, yoga and kickboxing? We expect it would be something like Jazzercise.
All ages are welcome and instructors will adapt routines around your personal ability, which makes it a great option for anyone who’s interested in trying something new.
Combining both tennis and squash, this sport is more about strategy than sheer strength and power.
Played on a smaller court than tennis and usually in doubles, padel is less physically demanding than ‘ordinary’ tennis, making it accessible to a wide range of ages and skills.
Find your closest padel court here.
Keepin’ it NEAT
High impact exercise and sport is not for everyone, so it’s important to remember that everyday activities can count towards our activity too.
Gardening, hoovering or cleaning the car are all activities that will benefit your physical and mental wellbeing. This type of movement is called NEAT exercise (Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis).
Mayo Clinic describes this as “different [to] exercise; it’s all the other movement that you do throughout the day besides your workout.”
So, the next time you sweep the kitchen floor or play with the kids, you are in fact getting active – just in a less conventional way.
The idea behind this couldn’t be simpler: cycle up and down a hill (any hill) at your own pace until you’ve reached 8,848m ascent – the height of Mount Everest.
Should you succeed, and you’ll become a part of the elite HELLS 500 club.
No matter your age or skill level, you can find a Specialized bike to suit you, and save money on it too.
If you purchase equipment, including gloves, shoes and saddles, along with your new bike, you can take 25% off that as well. Or 15% off if you choose to buy later.
Up for seeing some new sights this summer? Nordic walking is a brilliant way to explore places and witness breath taking views.
Similar to your everyday walking, this form of exercise targets your shoulders, arms, core and legs “using poles to push yourself as you walk along a trail or sidewalk,” explains Harvard Health.
And research shows that it burns up to 40% more calories than regular walking.
With 75% of Vitality members earning most of their points through tracking steps (1), this is a brilliant option if you are looking to take it up a notch.
As a Vitality member, you could get discounts with our travel partners including Mr & Mrs Smith.
Channel your inner creativity
Delving into lighter, less physical activities are just as important and can help to create those extra special moments of joy.
For some mental exercise, why not dig out an old paintbrush and some paints or pastels, step outside and find inspiration to put onto paper.
It’s a great opportunity to express yourself while enhancing problem-solving skills.
Getting started is often the hardest part, so there’s no harm in asking a family member or a friend to get involved too. Most importantly, it’s about just taking that first step to get going.
Bring back the book
Reading a good book might not be a particularly new or ground-breakingactivity, but it is one that too often gets overlooked in the digital age we live in – as thepopularity of books continues to fall in favour of smart phones and tablets.
They’re great for our mental health though. “Reading for six minutes a day reduces stress by as much as 68%,” a 2009 study by the University of Sussex found (2).
So, if you’re feeling like taking a moment to destress, enjoy escaping into your book. It doesn’t just have to be on a sun lounger by the pool, it could be on your lunch break, at the park or reading with your little ones.
Dive into bird watching
Bird watching might have a reputation as an activity for the older generations, but it’s currently soaring in popularity amongst the young, and it’s got lots to do with an app.
Merlin – as it’s known – helps curious consumers identify a species of bird by either uploading a picture or submitting an audio clip of its song.
The app is said to have helped almost 600,000 Brits identify more than 30 million birds since the start of this year.
While being highly entertaining, bird watching also has mental health benefits, as it is helps to calm the mind and increases our awareness of wildlife around us.
So, if you want to start bird watching, you’ll need:
- Bright, calm weather (many birds ‘disappear’ in heavy rain)
- Binoculars (can be helpful, but not essential)
Then at night, grab your binoculars, some blankets and take in the majestic clear-night sky in all its glory.
A craze that really took off during Covid, Stargazing is a wonderful way to connect with nature and the people around you.
It’s also an increasingly popular way to switch off. Be sure to bring some extra layers with you though.
There are a host of stargazing apps available – such as SkySafari and Star Walk - to help guide you through the stratosphere. Providing you can get to an open space away from light pollution, the great news is that it’s basically free, as you can see plenty with the naked eye.
To infinity and beyond.
Once you’ve chosen your device, you can link it to your Vitality account through the app and start earning activity points today.
And did you know that your phone is already tracking your steps. You’re already doing the hard work, so why not get rewarded for it. Take 2 minutes to connect your phone today and start earning rewards. So, what are you waiting for?
Start earning your points by logging into Member Zone today.
- Vitality data, 2023
- Lewis, D. (2009), Galaxy Stress Research. Mindlab International, Sussex University, UK.
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