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Outdoor Fun

Mar 24, 2011 08:06PM ● Published by Erin Frisch

The weight of winter is beginning to lift and you’re starting to see the first signs of summer just around the corner. Get your body ready for this summer by giving yourself the physical attention you deserve. The gym can be daunting—the membership fee, the stuffy interior. Instead, take your workout outside this spring to get fast results.

Take the bikes out of the garage and show them a little love with a tune-up. Then, take a ride around the neighborhood with your family and relish your time spent outside, breathing in the fresh air and spending valuable time with your loved ones.

Take a brisk walk or try an outdoor workout. Outdoor exercisers lost an average of 7.43 pounds and 6.17 percent of body fat in eight weeks, according to a study from California Pacific Orthopedic and Sports Medicine. That’s because outdoors, your body is challenged by inclines, declines, and obstacles, explains Tina Vindum, founder of Outdoor Action Fitness, an outdoor-fitness instruction program in Marin County, California. You'll also improve your mood and boost self-esteem. Before you get started, make sure to warm up with at least five minutes of power walking or light jogging.

Here are a few ideas to try, suggested in Fitness magazine:

1. Side Leap

Fitness Focus: Inner Thighs, Quads, Calves, Glutes

  • Stand on a flat surface with your feet together.
  • Bend your knees and hop as far as you can to your right, landing on the ball of your right foot.
  • Without returning left foot to the ground, bend your right knee and hop as far as you can to the left.
  • Work up to 20 hops on each side.
2. Park-Bench Dip

Fitness Focus: Triceps, Shoulders, Core

  • Sit on a bench and place your hands on either side of your hips.
  • Slide your butt forward, supporting yourself with your hands.
  • Bend elbows, bringing upper arms almost parallel to ground, then return to starting position.
  • Keep lower back close to the bench throughout the exercise.
  • Complete 12 to 15 reps.
3. Park-Bench Push-Up

Fitness Focus: Chest, Biceps, Triceps, Shoulders, Core

  • Stand facing a park bench and place your hands on the seat; walk your feet out behind you until your legs are fully extended.
  • Bend your arms and lower chest toward bench, then push up.
  • Complete 12 reps.
4. Tightrope Walk

Fitness Focus: Calves, Quads, Core

  • Find a curb or fallen tree with a smooth surface that is at least 6 feet long.
  • Raise arms out to sides and walk across the "tightrope" until you reach the end (or go at least 6 feet).
  • Turn on the balls of your feet; walk in the opposite direction.
  • Continue for 3 minutes.
5. Hanging Crunch

Fitness Focus: Abs

  • Take hold of a sturdy, low tree branch, monkey bars, or other elevated handhold, palms facing forward.
  • Keeping arms fully extended, exhale as you bend your knees and bring them slowly toward your abs.
  • Inhale as you slowly release.
  • Do as many reps as you can, working up to 12.

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