The Dog Days of Summer have nothing to do with your panting pet. This time of summer is called the Dog Days because the hottest days of the season are associated with the dog star Sirius, the brightest star in the Canis Major constellation. The ancient Romans believed that Sirius actually gave off heat and added to the warmth of the sun, hence the name.

Technically, we’re still in the throes of the Dog Days (July 3rd – August 11th this year), but in our neck of the woods, it stays HOT and sticky longer — sometimes through early September! Even though it seems miserable outside, it’s important to keep moving to keep up your strength, flexibility, balance and coordination.

Here are some ideas for how to stay active during the Dog Days of Summer WITHOUT losing your cool!

Swimming
Ah, so refreshing! Swimming laps engages your entire body, burns calories (around 200-300 per hour), and it can also help strengthen your heart and lower stress levels. Plus, swimming is low-impact, so it’s easy on your joints! If your laps look more like dog paddling, try water aerobics or other water-related exercise. They’re a wonderful alternative and can provide fun and friendship in addition to a great workout. 

Yoga
Any Best Years Group member can attest that yoga is the perfect exercise for body, mind and spirit (see Barbara Z’s testimonial below!) Beat the heat by practicing indoors or move it out to the shade in the early morning. It’s a great way to start your day! If you need some individual attention to get you started, you can always book a virtual yoga appointment with BYG Yoga Coach Alicia Bliss.

Walking
Who would have guessed that simply putting one foot in front of another had so many benefits? It may be underrated, but Ann Green, M.S., past heptathlon world athlete, yoga teacher and fitness studio owner says “Walking improves fitness, cardiac health, alleviates depression and fatigue, improves mood, creates less stress on joints and reduces pain, can prevent weight gain, reduce risk for cancer and chronic disease, improve endurance, circulation, and posture, and the list goes on…” The only equipment you need is a good pair of shoes, and to avoid the heat, try walking at the mall or an indoor walking track.

Learning
We’ve been talking about how to keep your body active this summer, but it’s equally important to keep your mind engaged. There are a plethora of classes (both online and in person) that you can explore. Learn to paint, draw, fly fish, or learn Italian! You could even register for “Yoga and Nutrition for Seniors” through Furman’s OLLI program this fall! Presented by us (Alison and Alicia), this one-day wellness event will combine yoga and nutrition for the active, senior adult who wants to live better, not just longer. We’ll share nutritional information that will focus on the three key systems of the body: the gut, the heart and the mind, as well as gentle yoga practices that combine breath and movement.