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On glorious warm summer days in San Diego, convincing yourself to take exercise outside won’t take too much work. But how do you maximize that time for your physical fitness? Whether you’re heading out for a run, taking your weights to the beach, or hitting up your favorite hike – here are four ways to help you get the biggest benefit.

Pace Yourself

On the heels of a very odd year, you may still be feeling cooped up, and your desire to train could be at an all-time high. Resist the urge to go hot out of the gates. Regular, paced, consistent workouts will do much more for your body than all-out burners that leave you incapacitated for a week. Respecting your current fitness limits and tailoring your workouts to that level helps to avoid injury and burnout. So, instead of going too hard, pace yourself and set markers – such as time, distance, or informal notes on how you feel – that will help you to measure your improvement in the future.

Add Tech

Speaking of measuring improvement, you can do some of that with a simple pen and paper, but picking up some tech gear can be a great way to energize and focus your outdoor workouts. There are some amazing running watches out there that do a lot more than just measure steps. Check out the Apple Watch Series 6, the Garmin Forerunner, or the Fitbit Sense for starters. Track your distance and pace with precise accuracy or measure data like elevation gain and heart rate to chart your progress.

Make It Social

Now more than ever, so many of us are hungry for social outlets. Why not pair your exercise – which is great for your body – with friend time – which is great for your mental health? Planning exercise together with friends helps with accountability for everyone and encourages healthy habits all around. Since you’ll be looking forward to the time with your buddies, you’ll also be building up anticipation. This can be a great solution if you’re someone who benefits from a little extra incentive to show up for those workouts.

Skip the Splurge

While outdoor exercise has plenty of advantages, it does tend to present some extra distractions. You might be very tempted to reward yourself with a post-workout beer, coffee drink, or donut. Of course that’s fine to do every once in a while, but stay away from making it a pattern. If we repeat certain activities one after the other, our brains will start to link those behaviors. For example: “I go for my run, then I eat my delicious donut.” As delightful as donuts are, you don’t want to find yourself indulging after every workout, or you’ll be sacrificing some of your gains. Let the endorphins and the joy of making healthy choices be the reward.

No matter what you’re doing to stay fit this summer, make it fun – and make it work for you! For more health and wellness tips, plus feel-good recipes, and ideas for staying active in San Diego, check out the Olympus Corsair blog.