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Now that the sun is shining and the temperatures are on the rise, you're probably looking for ways to inject energy into your winter-weary workout and perhaps streamline that waistline for your body-baring wardrobe.
Regardless of whether you're already active or just starting out, why not use the long days of summer to kick-start your fitness program with these fun and easy tips that will leave you looking good and feeling great?
1. Walk your way to shapely legs and buttocks.
Walking is one of the best forms of exercise because it's inexpensive, doesn't require skill, and in the lazy days of summer it can propel you through local parks, hikes, and splendid scenery.
Make it better by:
Checking out urban hikes, river pathways, or other scenic locales in your area. You don't need to trek to the mountains to have a getaway, and your local parks department may have resources to guide you.
How much is enough?
We benefit best from a minimum of 3 cardiovascular conditioning sessions per week. Build up from 15 minutes to 45 minutes or more. Work at a level where you feel sweaty and short of breath. Need a challenge? Walk up hills or stairs (or learn how to start your own walking or running regimen).
2. Circuit in the park.
In the season of tank tops and halter tops, we always feel better with a bit more muscle tone. On one of your weekly walks, add in the three upper-body strength exercises described below. Walk for 10 minutes then do the exercises. Walk for 10 minutes more and do a second set. If you're feeling strong, walk for 10 more minutes and perform set number three!
Page 1 of 3 – Learn more great summer fitness tips on the next page!
Park bench push-ups
Place your hands about shoulder width apart with your chest lined up with the backrest of the bench. Lower your chest to meet your hands (keep your back long and your abs engaged), then push back up. Try 6 to 10 or more (until the last few are a challenge).
Find a playground with straight bars. Your feet have to touch the ground on this one so if the bar is close to the ground that's okay. Place your hands shoulder width apart, palms in an underhand grip on the bar. Jump up so you are hanging at or above chin level with the bar, then slowly lower yourself down to straight arms (not locked) before placing your feet back on the ground. Repeat this drill 8 to 10 times until the lowering becomes a challenge.
Park bench triceps dips
Sit on the edge of a park bench with your behind just at the edge. To begin, position your feet below your knees (at a 90-degree angle). Place hands at sides, fingers overhanging the edge of the bench, and body weight on your hands. Slip your behind off the edge and lower your body until you dip about a foot or so, then push back up. Do 10 to 15 repetitions or until you are fatigued.
How much is enough?
Our weekly strength-training regimen doesn't have to be time-consuming if we work hard on each set. Do each exercise until technique fails or fatigue sets in. As you get stronger, make sure you do additional repetitions. Got questions about sunscreen? Get the scoop from dermatologists.
3. "Play" with enthusiasm.
How often do you pull up the lawn chair and watch as your kids leap through the sprinkler or swing away at the badminton birdie? Next time your kids are outside playing, join in the fun.
4. Less can be more
In the summer we often get sidetracked from our regular fitness program because of holidays and other social commitments.
Did you know that you can maintain your fitness level by decreasing the amount of exercise you do, as long as you increase the intensity of your exercise? This means that you can choose to walk or run for a shorter duration as long as you up the pace by running faster or walking uphill.
You can do your weight program one or two times per week instead of three or four as long as you work to fatigue on every set.
More great fitness tips
Give yourself a break by backing off on volume, and focusing on shorter, more intense workouts that allow you to fill your schedule with barbecues, weddings, and weekends at the cottage.
Look ahead to your fall workouts with enthusiasm, knowing that you've chosen to get active or keep at it in a season where most will lounge in the sun instead of finding fitness.
This summer, stay active, get more fit, and enjoy the summer with energy to spare, by fitting in fitness with these creative tips.
Michelle Cederberg MKin, PFLC
As president of Live Out Loud Fitness and Wellness Consulting, Michelle helps individuals and organizations pump up productivity in work, fitness and life. She has built her career in the fitness industry since 1990, as a personal trainer and educator, and expands that practical experience into motivational speaking and consulting. Her lively sessions have entertained hundreds of audiences across Canada and the U.S. To gain access to helpful fitness products and tips, visit Michelle at michellecederberg.com.
Page 3 of 3 - Discover great ideas for your summer fitness routine on page 1.