As the year draws to a close, HBA students look forward to two months of summer break.

Summer, the sunniest and debatably most beautiful months of the year, are an amazing opportunity to get out of the house and appreciate the beauty of the island that we live on. However, many HBA students don’t take advantage of this great place that people pay thousands of dollars to visit, but rather tend to spend their days watching movies and playing video games in the confines of their homes. If this is you, it may be worthwhile considering how you spend your time. Research has shown that an excess of screen time and sedentary activity along with a lack of regular physical activity is not only physically unhealthy but also mentally and emotionally damaging. Lack of physical activity can increase the risk of factors that cause cardiovascular disease and diminish our social skills due to a lack of interaction with others.

The reason that many HBA students tend to stay indoors is likely due to the difficulty in planning outside activities because of a lack of ideas and means of transportation. If that’s you and you want to shift to a more active lifestyle this summer, here are 5 ideas to get you started.

1. Go to the beach.

The beaches of Hawaii are some of the most renowned in the world and tourists frequently drop thousands of dollars to visit the places that we take for granted. No matter which side of the island you live on, you and your friends are no more than a bus or car ride away. Here are a few examples of beaches accessible by public transportation other than Waikiki Beach: Makapu‘u Beach, Sandy Beach, Kailua Beach, and North Shore beaches such as Ehukai Beach, Waimea Bay, and Sunset Beach. There is a lot more to explore in Hawaii if you venture into the ocean. Many beaches are great snorkeling spots in the summer. You would be surprised at how many HBA students have never snorkeled in Hawaii despite having grown up here.

2. Take a hike.

Hawaii has some of the most stunning views in the world. Whether you are a novice or expert adventurer, there are trails to suit your skill level. From trails as easy as the Lanikai Pillboxes and Makapu‘u Lighthouse to more advanced adventures such as Olomana Peaks or Kuliouou Ridge, there are hikes for outdoor enthusiasts on every level. Accessing some of these trails may require a car, but many are only a short bus ride away. The fun-filled journeys are met by an even more spectacular view that are typically worth the walk.

3. Get a job.

Finding a job over the break is one of the most productive ways to spend your time. Not only do jobs offer a monetary gain, but also provide real world experience in the workforce, teaching valuable life lessons. Getting a job is a important step in the life of an adolescent and when is a better time than summer to do so.

4. Eating out with friends.

Going out to eat with a group of friends is a great way to grow closer to your peers and can accompany a movie, shopping or any other outing. You are going to eat regardless, so why not turn it into a fun experience with a group of friends?

5. Go camping.

Whether you are an avid camper, or a novice, spending a night in the outdoors is a great way to connect to nature. People spend too much time on their devices and camping a great way to detach from the rush of everyday life and appreciate the outdoors.  There are state-run campsites that cost a nominal fee per night and also privately run locations like the Friends of Malaekahana in Laie and Camp Mokuleia on the North Shore.