10 Ways to Shape Up This Summer
You are never too old to start moving, and there are hundreds of walks and runs you can participate in this summer to jump-start your healthy lifestyle. Women tend to put others first, so sign up for an event that benefits a charity. You'll feel more purpose and drive to do your best.
Feel Like a Kid Again
Start with slip squats. On a wet surface in your backyard, start with your feet together and slowly slide your leg out to a squat position. The slippery surface requires you to move slowly and control the muscles. Return both feet together and squeeze those inner thighs. Try two to three moves between each child sliding down the runway.
Now, move on to jumping jacks! Take the same movement and add a little hop or speed. Best to hold someone's hands for balance on the first few, so you can slide safely. But isn't it fun playing in the yard?
Dust off your skates and try skating or Rollerblading again. Most cities have Rollerblade safety clinics monthly—and some are even weekly. Remember to wear protective gear like elbow, knee and wrist pads, as well as a helmet. Roll on down the sidewalk to better-shaped legs.
The classic youthful fad—the hula hoop—is back with a new fitness focus. According to the founders of Hoopnotica.com, "hooping" is a great way to burn calories and tighten the core. Creators Gabriella and Melissa started the movement when they needed to lose 50 stubborn pounds of baby weight. The fitness hoops are a little heavier and bigger—though there are portable hoops to take to the park—than the children's hoop you're used to. And a DVD gives you inspiration and basic moves to get lost in the swing of things.
Baseball season is in full swing, so do your part to try something new. Pick up a bat and try a few simple core and glute moves for your waistline and bottom line. Start by swinging a bat from side to side while keeping it parallel to the ground. This is a great core toner. Changing the swing direction allows the muscles to decelerate the initial force, making it a great resistance workout too.
For your bottom side, lie on the floor with your feet on the bat and lift your hips up. Hold them for three seconds and return to the ground. For a greater challenge, while your hips are lifted, roll the bat toward and away from your body. This focuses on the hamstrings and glutes. Try this for 10 to 15 repetitions.
Although you may think rock climbing is only an upper-body workout, spending a day on a 30-foot wall will prove it is a great activity to challenge your total body strength. As you reach for the rock or hand-hold, you step into your foot to push your body weight up the wall. You'll also need a partner—making this a perfect activity for getting healthy with a friend.
No, not the workout...pick up a jump rope! Try jogging in place and just whipping the rope around in a figure-eight pattern. This helps you jump longer without misses. If you like skipping the rope, try different foot combinations like heel-digs, both-feet and high-knees.
The old playground game takes on a new meaning when you are opting to get into shape. First, you need a court. Use chalk to draw a 4-foot-by-4-foot box on the sidewalk. Now, divide that into four 2-foot-by-2-foot boxes. Choose your number 1 square; then, go counterclockwise and label the remaining three.
Run in Water
Although the pool is a great place to cool off or swim a few laps, most people don't realize the benefits of running in the pool. Whether you run laps in the shallow end where the water is no higher than your armpits, or you are running when your feet don't touch the bottom, this is a perfect low-impact exercise for those recovering from injuries and can improve your mechanics while on the road too. If you run on the ground, try running in the pool at least once a week to help prevent nagging injuries like iliotibial band syndrome and plantar fasciitis.
Go for Three
For the overachiever in all of us, a triathalon—an event that combines swimming, biking and running—is the ultimate way to show off your fitness. If you are already a frequent exerciser, you may find the under-two-hour sprint distance course is easier than you think. I entered my first triathlon about four years ago and distinctly remember standing at the waterside while thinking, "Can I do this?" Since then, I've done several more. I now realize it takes less time to do a sprint triathlon than it does to get in a cardio-and-strength workout in the same day. Go ahead and enjoy the competition, but do the course for yourself first!
What outdoor activities do you miss most in the cold winter months? Share your summer activities in the comments area.
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