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Health & Exercise Forum

Try Some New Fitness Activities for Summer

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Jul 16, 2012

Dr. Mackarey's Health & Exercise ForumThe summer is a great time to be outdoors in NEPA as so many activities are available such as: biking, hiking, running, walking, swimming, boating, golfing, and playing tennis to name a few. It is also a wonderful opportunity to discover your inner child, mix it up and try something new! Below are four new and exciting ways to stay active and have fun in the sun.



Sunset or Moonlight Kayaking

Sunset Kayaking

Sunset Kayaking

Spending time on any of the beautiful lakes in NEPA is time well spent. From an exercise standpoint, rowing, canoeing and kayaking offer a very special experience. In particular, a kayak is light weight, easy to use and maneuverable on a lake. Sitting low on the water offers a unique perspective as you feel yourself glide across the lake. I am fortunate to kayak at least twice a week in the summer. A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to “mix it up” and try something new with my kayak. At the end of June, when the moon was 98% full, The Countryside Conservancy in partnership with Lackawanna State Park, sponsored a moonlight kayak event on the lake at the park. Greg and Celeste Cali joined my wife Esther and me for an experience we will not soon forget. We embarked at 8 pm and returned at 10 pm. We had bug spray and headlights as we enjoyed the sunset and moon rise on the lake and felt like kids breaking the rules of the park being on the water after dark! It is fair to say that we enjoyed discovering the child within us.

NOTE: Try kayaking in the daytime first and then advance to sunset trips before staying on the water for the moonlight. Rentals are available at the park.

Kayaking Gear:

  • Clothing – a DryTec type material for shirt and pants…bring along a light long sleeve in case the wind picks up or the bugs are out.
  • Shoes – Aqua shoes are best…old sneakers will wor
  • Water – hand held water bottle or a water proof bag for money, keys, ID, and a granola bar.
  • Insect Repellent - a must
  • Headlamp – necessary for you to be seen on the water and to see when you get out of the boat and pack up.
  • Change of Clothes – it is a good idea to have a first-aid kit, towel and change of clothes in your car to change into before you drive home.


Stand Up Paddleboarding

Stand-Up Paddleboarding

Stand-Up Paddleboarding

Stand up paddleboarding (SUP) is becoming a fast growing sport among water enthusiasts. It is a fun way to exercise your core, improve balance, and tone your upper body. It requires minimal equipment; a board that is essentially a long and wide surf board and a long paddle to use while standing on the board. It can be done in the ocean surf, bay, lakes or rivers; however, beginners would be wise to stay in calm water. Rentals are available at most beaches.

Check out the website below for more information and a video demonstration.

 Aqua Zumba

Zumba is a very popular form of dance aerobics spiced up with Latin music. When adding water and sun to this already cool activity, you are assured to have fun while exercising. As with any aquatic exercise, the added resistance from the water gives arm rows and leg kicks more challenge. Female participants report an additional benefit; they are uninhibited to “shake that thing” to the music under the cover of the water. So, beat the heat, let loose and get some fun in the sun while you exercise.

NOTE: Consider trying regular Zumba first to get the hang of it.


Pogo Running

Kangoo Jumps, developed in Switzerland in the 1990’s, is beginning to gain attention in this country, especially in urban areas like New York City’s Central Park. The product looks like a ski boot with an elliptical spring attached to the bottom. The activity requires a certain amount of strength, balance and coordination, but may be a good alternative for those looking for an exercise that is less stressful on the feet, ankles, knees, hips and lower back. The makers of this product claim the shoes are joint friendly by reducing impact by 80% and the users report a great workout with lots of laughter. Either way, it provides another option to running while trying something new to have fun in the sun!

NOTE: First, practice bouncing on a trampoline or slowly jog on the balls of your feet to develop a sense of bounce and balance before you pogo.


Elliptical Biking

I love this idea…why didn’t I think of it first! In the gym I enjoy the elliptical machine because it simulates running without the impact on my joints but of course, I would rather be outdoors. Well, this is the answer to my prayers…an elliptical machine that is attached to a bike with handle bars and brakes included. I think it will probably be difficult on steep hills but it is something I MUST TRY!


Visit your doctor regularly and listen to your body.

NEXT MONDAY – Read Dr. Paul J. Mackarey “Health & Exercise Forum!” in the Scranton Times-Tribune.

This article is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. If you have questions related to your medical condition, please contact your family physician. For further inquires related to this topic email:

Paul J. Mackarey PT, DHSc, OCS is a Doctor in Health Sciences specializing in orthopaedic and sports physical therapy. Dr. Mackarey is in private practice and is an associate professor of clinical medicine at The Commonwealth Medical College.