When the news of COVID-19 began to circulate, many Michigan residents thought life would be somewhat back to normal by spring break. Unfortunately, it’s taken longer to begin to get out of the house. And while Governor Whitmer is slowly opening the state back up in phases, experts are still recommending wearing masks and social distancing to continue to help stop the spread of COVID-19.
That doesn’t mean you have to sit inside alone all summer, missing out on the few short months of the warmest weather we get in Michigan. Here’s a list of the top 10 outdoor activities you can do alone, with those you’ve been staying home with or in small groups—to keep you moving and get outside.
- Spin your wheels. Whether you grab a bike or a pair of rollerblades, let the wheels help you do the work while you explore the beautiful Michigan outdoors. Go on a short ride or make it a day-long journey with snacks or a healthy lunch to keep you moving. Remember—safety first with helmets, pads and other protective gear as needed. Many towns have bike rentals if you don’t have your own set of wheels, and rollerblades usually go on sale this time of year. Looking for the best trail near your home? This comprehensive list is organized by city.
- Get in the water. Whether you hit the backyard pool, the local beach or the big lake, swimming is so good for your health. And great news— when you’re inside Michigan’s borders, you’re never more than six miles from a body of water. Good, old-fashioned swimming has many benefits beyond burning calories. A water workout can provide relief for chronic pain and can even have psychological benefits. If you want to try something new on the water besides laps, take a kayak for a spin for a great arm workout. Paddleboarding is also a fun option with various benefits from increasing core strength and improving balance to strengthening all muscle groups and building cardiovascular endurance. Water naturally soothes our bodies, and by listening to the sound of the water with the rhythm of your stroke—and feeling the sensation of gliding—you can easily melt away stress in a hot second.
- Hit the trails. There’s nothing like a beautiful walk in the park now that the sun is out. And if you go to a park with hiking paths, you can get a workout in on the sand or on the trails. You can bring a healthy picnic or snacks for this day trip, too. Here’s a list of the best places to hike in the mitten state. Try a sunset hike this time of year now that the days are getting longer. It’s cooler in the evening and a wonderful way to get outdoors after dinner with the family.
- Get out in nature. Chances are you’ve been stuck at home more than usual this year without much travel, if any at all. Change your view and head out into nature. With the state opening up, that means campgrounds will too — book a camping trip at one of Michigan’s beautiful campgrounds. Nothing will get you moving more than setting up camp, enjoying hiking in the fresh air and taking advantage of water activities and bike trails. Here are some healthy camping meal ideas for your trip, and some safety tips
- Move your feet. If you’re runner and love to sprint or even lightly jog, great! There are so many scenic running trails in Michigan. In the summer, try running early in the morning or evening with reflectors for safety to beat the heat. But if you prefer to take it slower, don’t underestimate the health benefits of a good walk. Just 20 minutes a day makes a big difference. This year is providing everyone in Michigan extra time to explore local neighborhoods, nearby trails and parks. Bring the pets along, they’re likely sick of the house—and in need of a little exercise and fresh air—too. If you’ve got your eye on speeding things up or working toward a virtual 5K, here are some helpful tips for new runners.
- Workout outside. With gyms being able to offer outdoor classes per the Governor’s executive order as of June 1, check your local gyms, YMCA, fitness clubs or community programs for outdoor class offerings. As long as you stay six feet apart, you can try a new yoga, Zumba, Tai Chi or dance class with others who are working on similar goals—safely distanced, of course. Many community programs offer additional dance programming, strength training, high intensity interval training (HIIT) classes and more. If you’re not quite ready for a large group setting, that doesn’t mean you’re confined to inside workouts only. You can always take a laptop or tablet outside during good weather and complete a virtual workout program on the patio, driveway or right in your yard. Get the whole family outside to join you—it feels good to get moving in the sunshine.
- Swing the clubs. Nothing says ‘hole in one’ quite like a little tee time. Michigan has beautiful golf courses statewide and they have been open as an approved outdoor activity. Add more exercise to your game by ditching the cart and walking the course for all 9 or 18 holes. Wondering which courses are open and the COVID-19 restrictions? It’s best to call or check out your favorite course’s website for the most updated information. Here is a list of Michigan’s beautiful courses to try out.
- Grab your gardening gear. With so much time at home, why not get outside and beautify the space you’re in? From organizing the garage or detailing your car, to all of the yardwork that’s a great workout, activities around the house can double as chores combined with a calorie burn. Even cleaning counts as a workout with benefits. Plus, that sense of accomplishment at the end of a beautiful, sunny day working on your space—there’s nothing like it.
- Swing a racket. Grab a racket along with a can of tennis balls and head to a local court to get a great full-body workout. Serving, volleying and racking up the points in tennis can burn anywhere from 280 to 400 calories per hour depending on if you play singles or doubles. So—throw on a pair of comfortable tennis shoes, because your feet will definitely get moving with this outdoor activity that will take you from “love” to “deuce.”
- Hit the beach. There’s nothing like the sun, sand and water to change your perspective and your mood about the challenges of 2020. Beyond just relaxing and breathing in that fresh summer air, there are so many ways to get active at the beach. From water sports to spike ball, frisbee, or simply walking in the sand or up and down dunes—the beach is a great place to get moving and enjoy some relaxing all in one day. Here are some tips to make your beach adventures the healthiest and happiest they can be.
Whether you’re feeling the safest in your own yard, or ready to venture out a bit more as things open up—try some of these ideas to get outside for some socially distanced Michigan summer fun.