With summer around the corner, nothing is more inviting than a big glass of iced tea, the latest décor magazine, and your nice comfy deck chair, right? While it's fine to relax in the open air after a busy day at work, don't forget that the outdoors can provide you with plenty of opportunities to stay fit and healthy. You don't have to head to the gym for a workout. Take advantage of the beautiful weather, and enjoy the following good-for-you activities:

  • Biking. How long has it been since you've been in the saddle? If the last bike ride you took was on a little purple number with a basket, bell and banana seat, it's time to hop on again. Head to your local bike shop and ask for an inexpensive road or hybrid bike. Or comb newspaper and Internet ads for good used merchandise. Have the bike shop fit you for a helmet, then fill a water bottle and head out. You don't have to go for hours or cycle miles from home to get a good workout. Make sure to enjoy the scenery and look for roads you're not familiar with-it's a great way to become a tourist in your own town.
  • Gardening. People often refer to "puttering" in their garden, but done correctly, gardening and lawn maintenance can be a workout. There's a lot of bending and lifting involved, and raking, mowing, and hoeing can burn serious calories. Protect your back while planting by squatting with one knee on the ground instead of bending at the waist, and switch knees frequently. Just as with any other activity, it's best to warm up before gardening by marching in place for a few minutes, and stretch out when you're done, especially the muscles in your back, legs, and shoulders.
  • Playing with your kids. Remember how much fun it was to spend the whole day outside playing hopscotch and tag, jumping rope and having catches? The good news is you don't have to be young to enjoy those youthful games. Grab some sidewalk chalk and draw a hopscotch board. Then challenge your kids to a game (or teach them to play!). Pull on the old baseball glove and toss the ball back and forth. Comb your garage for forgotten treasures such as pogo sticks and tennis rackets, then put them to use. No courts nearby? Hit the ball against the side of your house or garage, and have a contest to see who can go the longest without missing a shot.