If you're too hot to run, bike, or hike outside, but you still want to enjoy the Summer weather, exercising on water is a great way to beat the heat. Kayaking is one of my favorite water sports because it's safe to do alone, or if you prefer some company, you can kayak with a group of people.
The paddling action will effectively tone your arms, back, and abs. Sitting upright will also increase flexibility in your hamstrings and improve your posture. It's a great complement if you're a runner or biker, since most of the work is done by your upper body and back. You can paddle hard to burn calories and work your muscles, and if you get tired, you can slow down or take a break and just let the current float you along. The best part is that if you get hot, you can jump in the water for instant refreshment.
To find out how to get started
Rent a kayak at a nearby lake, river, or bay, and it'll cost between $20 and $40, depending on how long you want to stay out and what type of kayak you rent. I recommend taking a lesson or class to learn how to paddle efficiently, and to also get tips on how to get in and out of your kayak while in the water. Go when it's not windy, so the water will be less choppy. Wear waterproof sunscreen and a hat to protect your skin.
If you love kayaking, consider buying one. Ones made out of plastic will be less expensive than fiberglass kayaks, but they'll also be heavier and harder to repair if it gets damaged by rocks. If you want one that's even lighter, they make kayaks out of kevlar, graphite, or carbon fiber. One of these kayaks will cost between $400 and $2,000, and that's not including the paddle. If that's too steep, many gear shops will sell used kayaks for much cheaper.