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Running in a nearby park or scenic area is the perfect way to get the heart rate up while also destressing and appreciating nature.

It’s summer break, and that means most Dukes may no longer have access to the University Recreation Center, leaving them lost and gainless. There’s no need to stress–there are still ways everyone can get their summer bodies. Here are five tips to stay healthy and fit without access to a gym.

1. TV binging, but active

Almost everyone has a favorite weekly TV show or series they’re binging on Netflix, and this is the perfect opportunity to fit exercise into something they already enjoy. By creating an exercise game, TV lovers can turn a workout into a fun experience.

For example, much of America watches “The Bachelorette,” which is perfect for an exercise game:

  • If Hannah says the word "bold," do five jump squats.

  • If Luke P. says "genuine," do five pushups.

  • If someone cries, do ten burpees.

Every show has predictable words the characters say or actions they do. An easy way to make TV active is to assign an exercise to them, turn on a TV, computer or iPhone and start grinding.

2. Take advantage of fitness social media accounts

Home workouts are hard to create if someone doesn’t have fitness knowledge. Once they get past the basics like pus hups, sit ups, crunches and squats, workouts can get pretty repetitive and boring. Luckily for this generation, it’s the age of social media. There are fitness accounts on multiple platforms targeted toward diverse audiences. The best to use are YouTube and Instagram, because fitness moguls create videos that show each exercise in a workout, with specific sessions dedicated to different muscle groups. When looking through Instagram, the most important thing one can do if they don’t have access to a gym is to find an influencer who uses little to no equipment. Cassey Ho, Kayla Istines and Jennifer Cohen are good people to follow for “fitspiration.”

3. Track steps

Unless students are taking summer classes or working, they’re probably not spending as much time sitting in a classroom or in front of a computer like they did during the school year. Many Dukes are walking more than they realize, especially if they’re working a job that requires them to stand most of the time, like waitressing or outdoor maintenance. Using whatever tools they own – an Apple watch, Fitbit or the iPhone Health app – students could set a step goal for each day and adjust how much extra time they spend getting their steps in based off what they’ve already done.

4. Go outside

Harrisonburg’s harsh winters make outdoor exercise impossible, but now that it’s summer, Dukes can enjoy the warm weather and use it to their advantage. Running in a nearby park or scenic area is the perfect way to get the heart rate up while also destressing and appreciating nature.

Outdoor exercise doesn’t need to be deliberate. A simple beach day or theme park trip still requires physical activity. Dog owners can take their furry friends on a walk once a day to keep moving. It’s always important to be safe when working out in the heat. Staying hydrated and avoiding the hottest times of the day – which are normally in the afternoon – as well as wearing supportive and comfortable shoes made for exercise are important for avoiding injuries.

5. Keep track with a journal or app

During the school year, most of the time during the day has a set schedule, but during the summer, it can be hard to find a routine. This is why it’s important to create goals and keep track of progress.

A popular journaling method right now is the bullet journal. It’s not only used for exercise, but it can be. Pinterest has hundreds of ideas for how to use a bullet journal for fitness, like food diaries, exercise trackers, hydration trackers and more. Another easy way to keep a fitness record is with an app. Some top fitness apps include MyFitnessPal, Runkeeper and Google Fit. If journaling or using an app is too intense, one can opt for something easy like writing a specific goal for the day on a sticky note and putting it somewhere visible so it’s easy to remember.

Contact Sarah Connor at connorse@dukes.jmu.edu. For more on the culture, arts and lifestyle of the JMU and Harrisonburg communities, follow the culture desk on Twitter @Breeze_Culture.