Outdoor fun for the whole family
What's a family picnic without badminton or bocce? Before you play picnic sports, prevent injury by doing some easy warmup exercises.
Summertime and the exercisin’ is easy. Now’s the time to get outdoors to play some picnic sports with the family. But first, be sure to prevent injury by doing warmup exercises.
Whether you’re at a park or in your own backyard, you can get in a light or more intense workout with several summer sports, depending on your level of exertion.
Keep in mind that regardless of what type of exercise you’re doing, it’s crucial to warm up for five to 10 minutes beforehand to get your muscles ready for action and reduce the risk of injury.
Hugely popular in Asia, badminton is an Olympic sport. At the 2012 Olympic Games in London, players are expected to hit shuttlecocks (or birdies) at speeds exceeding 400 kilometres per hour. The object of the game is to win the best of three 21-point sets. Points are scored when the shuttle is hit or served across a net but not properly returned.
Badminton racquets, a birdie, and a net (or a string tied about 5 feet (1.5 m) off the ground).
Improved cardiovascular endurance, balance, agility, hand-eye coordination, and core strength.
Get ready to hit the birdie with these exercises.
With your hands on your hips, take a giant step forward with one leg, then bend your front knee to come into a lunge. Get as low as you can, keeping your front knee over your ankle, not your toes.
Come up out of the lunge and take a big step forward on the other side.
Repeat, keeping your shoulders back and your belly button pulled in toward your spine. Keep your torso straight upright, as if you’re riding in an elevator; in other words, avoid leaning forward. Continue for 2 to 3 minutes, resting as needed.
Use your racquet to hit shadow forehands and backhands in the air, using the same technique as you would in a game.
Another version of jumping jacks, these simply involve crossing one leg in front of the other when you bring your feet together when you land.
Alternate the foot that lands in front. Aim for 1 minute.
Dating back to 5000 BC, bocce is especially common in Italy, which started a league in 1947. It can be played on nearly any hard surface or on a level grassy area.
The game begins with a player throwing a target ball, or pallino onto the court (or grass). Opponents take turns trying to toss or roll their game balls as close as possible to the pallino. Just like in curling, opponents’ balls can be knocked out. The balls closest to the pallino score points, but only one team scores points during each frame. Bocce games are generally played to 12 points.
Eight game balls (four of one colour and four of another) and one smaller one for the pallino, divided evenly among two, four, or eight players. (Bocce balls can be bought in sets.)
Enhanced hand-eye coordination, balance, and core and upper body strength, plus mental acuity from strategic play.
Warm up for bocce with these exercises.
Power walk or light jog
Power walk or jog back and forth across the field or playing area for at least 3 to 5 minutes.
The origins of this traditional pastime go back 2,000 years to a game called quoits, in which Roman soldiers would toss metal rings onto a stake. Horseshoes became a substitute when rings weren’t available, and the game has been a group favourite ever since.
Players toss, or “pitch,” horseshoes toward a stake. Points may be scored for horseshoes that land within 6 in (15 cm) of the stake (the closest to the stake gets one point), or encircling it (the beloved “ringer,” which earns three points). Players alternate pitching from one end of the court to the other until everyone has had a turn. Play continues until one team reaches 40 points or 40 shoes have been pitched.
Two stakes or sticks set 40 feet (12 m) apart ideally on a level surface, plus as many horseshoes as possible. (Official rules call for shoes that weigh close to 3 lb/1.4 kg.)
Improved upper body and core strength, as well as aim.
Warm up to safely pitch horseshoes with these exercises.
Squats with knees up
Squats with legs to the side
Don’t let the sport’s genteel image fool you; this can be an extremely competitive game of skill and strategy. The object is to score the most points by knocking a ball through the goals, called wickets, and into a final stake. The ball must pass through the wickets in a specific order and from the correct direction to count for a point.
An open, level grassy field and a croquet set consisting of two stakes, nine wickets, and mallets and balls.
Enhanced balance, core strength, and hand-eye coordination.
Get ready to swing a croquet mallet with these exercises.