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How to squeeze in exercise over the summer without even realising

Here’s to making your summer fitness goals still count towards something.

We’re all for that New Year’s fitness resolution but sometimes it’s hard to stay in shape over the summer with all the delicious indulgent food within arms reach and under no obligation to squeeze in a workout. Not to mention you’re probably in some remote location miles away from home, the gym, and any remnant of routine.

So in lieu of the prescribed exercise and training you’ve been maintaining all year (or since the start of bikini season), we’ve put together a couple of ideas you can do that still count as some sort of fitness over the break.

Go for a swim

It wouldn’t be a Christmas in New Zealand without us all participating in an obligatory dip at some point. Whether you’re beach, lake or poolside this summer, rest assured knowing that going for a swim will help burn off some of those Christmas Day lunch calories. It’s not only good cardio but it also works your muscles and creates minimal stress on your joints. So slip into your swimsuit and make it count.


We might not all be the most graceful of ballerinas in the world but the majority of us are bound to bust out a sweet dance move or two at some point during the break. Yes, we see you over there in the corner getting your wiggle on. Seriously – what’s a New Year’s Eve without a party? And what’s a party without a bit of dancing? So get your groove on as much as possible over the summer knowing that while you’re having fun, you’re also doing your body some good too. According to a report from the University of Brighton, even tame forms of dancing burn similar amounts of calories to cycling

Spring clean

Finding motivation to do a decent spring clean over the break is a struggle. Holidays are meant to be fun and relaxing, right? Of course they are; but wouldn’t you feel so much more clearheaded and productive after a clean out? The holidays are the perfect time to do tackle operation de-clutter – especially with the New Year on the horizon. So go ahead and kickstart that clean, because you’ll not only feel mentally better for it but your body will also thank you for getting up and moving.

Climb those stairs

For those of us who still want to include some decent form of exercise in our summer holiday, the stairs are the perfect way to work your cardio and leg muscles sans gym. Get out there and find a decent bunch of stairs to climb while you’re on your break and watch your heart rate and fitness points climb as you tackle the stairs.


New Zealand is such a beautiful country and it’s important we make the most of the ample opportunities to go on walks or hikes. They’re not only a great form of exercise but also a thoroughly enjoyable way to spend time with friends. And when the hard work kicks in, know that often the right walk can lead to the most splendid scenic views such as climbing Mount Maunganui. So go ahead and grab a friend or two and discover our beautiful country while you exercise.

Go for a ride

Just like a decent hike, cycling is a great summer activity to do with friends that also counts as exercise while you peddle and burn those calories. It’s great for your posture, helps to develop your muscles and is a great way of exploring the area you’re in for the summer. And if you and your pal don’t have bikes, look at hiring some for hours of enjoyment or a romantic date. Nex time you need to whip over to the dairy, put the car keys down and hop on a bike instead.

Hit the shops

Carrie wasn’t wrong when she declared shopping as her cardio in that memorable scene in Sex and the City. Naturally, with all those Boxing Day sales and gift vouchers up your sleeves, shopping is a great way to get out, walk around and exercise. Furthermore, say “yes” to carrying all those shopping bags too and nab an arm strengthening workout while you’re at it. Looks like your credit card won’t be the only thing getting any exercise this summer after all?

Park a distance from your destination

Get your daily steps up by parking far away from your destination. When you’re going to grab a coffee with a friend over the break, leave enough time and park 10-20 minutes away from the cafe and walk. It might save you paying for parking and is definitely the perfect way to help factor a little bit of exercise into your day without forcing you to break out in too much of a sweat.

Think about your posture

Looking after and improving your posture is very important as it not only looks after your body but also helps with fitness and exercise. It affects your lower back, muscles and joints and helps build strength through your core. Make sure improving your posture is top of your priority list when working towards those fitness goals, knowing that eventually, it will pay you back during that first gym class in the New Year.

Mindful eating

We’re not asking you to say no to all the scrummy food that comes your way once a year, we’re simply suggesting you think before you eat. Christmas and New Year’s is a time of indulgence and consequently calorie bombs seemingly unavoidable at every turn. Simple hacks such as drinking plenty of water, opting for spices for flavour oppose to sugars and syrups or reaching for a smaller plate can all help towards all the deliciousness with less guilt. Read here for more on maintaining healthy eating habits during the festive season.

Photos: Jono Parker


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