Introducing the Hamptons Fit Challenge

Water Skiing
Water skiing, photo by Jenny Kneezel

In last week’s Dan’s Papers “Start Here” page, we learned that there are 97 days between Memorial Day and Labor Day. I read this tidbit of news somewhere around 3 a.m. on a publishing day and had an overly dramatic response to it. Only 97 days? After dealing with the three other seasons, pre-winter, winter and post-winter, we’re already counting down the days until summer is over?

Though I’ve gotten some sleep since first reading that page, I’m still taken aback by the fact. As I write this, post-winter has yet to give way to summer. Dark clouds are standing between us and the glories of warmer weather.

I think few will argue that the best part about summer in the Hamptons is how incredible it is to be outside. Regardless of whether you’re a cold-weather person or a warm-weather one, summer days generally come through with a perfect temperature. Mornings and evenings are cool. Afternoons are prime for playing in the surf or laying on the beach.

And to think we’ve only got 97 days to enjoy this.

Once it gets warmer, I’m vowing to wake up early to enjoy a morning run or stand up paddle before work. During the winter, the best time to attempt an outdoor workout is high noon—an inconvenience for the working sect. But summer light provides so many more opportunities to get in a good—and much more pleasant—exercise.

My summer 2013 plans revolve around pretending I’m on a staycation all the time. My permanent residence conveniently doubles as my Hamptons vacation home. But it’s easy to forget about the latter when the nuances of day-to-day life get in the way.

Which is why I’m issuing the Hamptons Fitness Challenge to work out every day for a minimum of 15 minutes from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

Fifteen minutes of activity is doable for anyone. It’s 15 minutes to take time to enjoy all the East End has to offer. Time to soak up the sun and reap the physical and mental benefits of exercise. Think of how you could fill that quarter of an hour: running, walking, stand up paddle boarding, swimming, kite boarding, water skiing, wake boarding, surfing, biking, pickup games of Frisbee, football, whiffle ball, beach flags. And then there’s all the fitness classes: spinning, boot camp, yoga, Pilates, barre. My plan is all about enjoying being outdoors, but it’s not necessary to even leave your house to get in 15 minutes of exercise. Consider a circuit of push-ups, jumping jacks, sit-ups and squats. Fifteen minutes of anything counts.

Lifting cocktails at the Southampton Social Club would not be included as a part of a workout, but I highly recommend using an evening there as a reward.

An average person can walk a brisk mile in 15 minutes. If you do that every day, you’ll cover 97 miles throughout the summer. How awesome does that sound?

Memorial Day Monday brought sunshine and temperatures approaching summer, and I’m well on my way to completing my own challenge. Of course, exercising for more than 15 minutes is encouraged.

Get moving, Hamptons, and tweet photos of your workout—or of a beautiful sunset captured on an evening run—to Dan’s Papers (@DansPapers) with #HamptonsFitChallenge. Those who complete the task will be recognized in a September edition of this column.

How many will make it all the way?

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