What’s the best way to enjoy yourself this summer? Summer Sports!

Summer sports are a fantastic way to spend time out of doors, appreciate the weather, socialize, and have fun!

In addition to enhancing your enjoyment of the warmest season, staying active with summer sports has plenty of health benefits.

Keep reading to learn why physical activity is the key to a healthy and fun summer, plus a list of summer sports to invigorate yourself and break a sweat without going near a treadmill or gym!

The Many Benefits of Being Active

Some of the benefits of summer sports are obvious: fun, social time, making plenty of vitamin D from the sun, enjoying the weather, and relieving stress for starters!

Additionally, being physically active is one of the most important things you can do for your health and wellness.

Physical activity can boost your physical health, enhance your emotional well-being, and even preserve a healthy brain as you age.

If you aren’t already in the habit of having fun in the sun by being physically active, keep these proven benefits of regular exercise in mind:

  • Exercise balances your hormones and helps prevent obesity and diseases like type 2 diabetes[1]
  • In adults with chronic pain, it can reduce pain and improve quality of life[2]
  • For senior citizens, exercise slows the impact of aging and preserves a higher quality of life[3]

So what’s the best choice for you this summer?

There are hundreds (if not thousands) of great options to choose from, but to help you narrow it down, we’ve selected activities that are:

  • Outside rather than inside
  • Reasonably safe for beginners
  • Inexpensive or require minimal equipment

Read on to find out which summer sports made the cut!

The 6 Best Summer Sports to Stay Active

#1: Hiking

Hiking is the quintessential outdoor activity. It’s free, requires little or no equipment, and it’s perfect whether you’re solo or accompanied by your spouse, family, or dog.

Best of all, you can find a suitable hike for your skill level no matter what your region is. From cities to prairies, mountains to coasts, all you have to do is step outside and wander.

On the other hand, if you prefer to plan ahead, you can use a website like All Trails or Hiking Project to track down the perfect trail!

For even more benefits, go for a hike in the woods or other natural surroundings. Studies show that “forest bathing”–spending significant time in nature–has greater positive health effects compared to regular exercise[4]!

Before you go on a hike, be sure to check the weather and tell someone where you’ll be, especially if you’re going out alone.

#2: Swimming

Swimming is free, low-impact, and suitable for all ages.

Whether you prefer splashing in the water or swimming laps, it’s a fantastic choice to elevate your heart rate, get your blood flowing, and limber up your joints.

To get even more benefits from swimming, do it outside in a natural body of water. Research shows that swimming in cool water ups your calorie burn and reduces inflammation in your body[5].

If you don’t know how to swim, check your local YMCA or YWCA for low-cost or free lessons. And unless you’re a confident and experienced swimmer, never swim without a lifeguard present.

#3: Kickball

Let’s say you’re a social type of person, but don’t have hiking buddies. Enter adult kickball!

If you went to grade school in the United States any time in the past 70 years, the chances are high that you’ve played kickball before. It’s basically the same set of rules as baseball, but instead of striking a ball with a bat, you kick a large, squishy ball.

Lately, adult kickball leagues have been springing up all over the country. This phenomenon reflects the need for friendly adult social activities that aren’t tied to work. The cost ranges from free to $10-12 per game, with discounts for seasonal membership.

If you’re competitive, you can join a team and try to win trophies, but kickball is also a great option if you’re interested in breaking a sweat and making some new friends this summer!

#4: Beach Volleyball

Compared to kickball, beach volleyball requires a lot more skill, but it’s still relatively low-impact. And if you’re not the fittest person, you can have fun participating in leisurely-paced games.

The rule set is more relaxed than regular volleyball, and you get to play beach volleyball barefoot, which makes it a pleasant and relaxing summer sport.

You actually don’t need to live near the beach to play beach volleyball. Anywhere with sand will do, and many cities have beach volleyball courts in public parks.

#5: Yoga

Yoga is not the best choice if you want to burn extra calories, but it’s one of the top ways to relax, both mentally and physically.

You wouldn’t know it from modern Western indoor yoga classes, but this activity was originally practiced outside in mother nature.

This summer you might be able to find a yoga group that meets up outdoors, but if not, it’s suitable for individual enjoyment. You can use a book, app, or free YouTube instructional videos to get started.

#6: Tai Chi

Tai chi is an “internal martial art” that emphasizes health benefits and a meditative mindset. It’s a great choice if you want to chill out, but find yourself getting bored or restless during yoga.

Additionally, tai chi is mostly standing and requires less flexibility than yoga, so it’s suitable for senior citizens.

Look for inexpensive or free Tai chi groups in your area, or check YouTube for instructional videos.

Final Thoughts

Popular summer sports like pickup basketball, soccer, and surfing didn’t make our list.

While those activities (and many others) are excellent choices, they’re not easy to start as an adult if you’ve never played them. Surfing is also prohibitively expensive.

Luckily though, you don’t have to develop a high level of skill or sink lots of cash to get healthier this summer and have fun.

Whether you’re attracted to nature, socialization, or finding inner peace, there’s no better season to get outside and move more!