Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Summer Slender

By Brianne Harrison

At last, the weather has improved, and the warm temperatures and sunny days are drawing us all outside, to beaches, lakes, and barbeques. Unfortunately, at the time of year you usually want your body to look its best, it gets harder and harder to keep up a decent workout regimen. Vacations interfere with regular workouts, nice weather makes it tougher to go to a windowless gym, and summer’s sugary drinks and typically unhealthy party foods offer calorie-rich temptations. Luckily, there are a number of ways to stay active (and burn off that margarita!) during the summer months, even if you hate going to the gym or working out.


Find Fun Activities

You don’t have to hit the treadmill to get your cardio in. Get a Frisbee or volleyball game going on the beach, or play tag with your kids or friends (just five minutes of running in sand can help you burn more than 50 calories*). If you’re down the shore, rent some bikes and cruise the boardwalk, or cycle down the D&R Canal Towpath. On hot days, hit the pool to cool down—swimming laps works almost every muscle group. Love animals? Take your dog for a jog around the neighborhood, or volunteer as a dog walker at your local animal shelter—they’ll be grateful for the help! Have a summer of weddings lined up, or just looking for something new to try with your sweetie? Ballroom dancing lessons can also provide a great workout. If you need motivation to run, find a 5K that supports a charity that interests you (there are plenty of them this time of year) and start training!


You don’t need fancy machines or expensive weights to keep your muscles toned while you’re on vacation. Any hardcover book or object with a bit of weight to it can be used for lifting exercises. Hold a heavy book on your chest when doing sit ups to increase resistance and burn more calories (the Bible found in all hotel rooms could work well for this). That same book can be used for lunges, squats, or arm exercises. Want shapely calves? Use a step or curb for toe lifts.  Pretty much any sturdy chair can be appropriated for bench dips that work the backs of your arms.

 Find Exercises that Travel Well

Pilates offers a great workout that tones your core, helps improve balance and posture, and can easily go on the road with you (if you practice mat pilates). If you’ve never tried pilates before, check out the Absecon Lighthouse Pilates Classes on the two-acre lawn at the historic lighthouse near Atlantic City. Classes are $10 each and support children's educational programs at Absecon Lighthouse. If you want to get some cardio in, throw your sneakers in the suitcase and scout out running trails near where you’ll be staying.


*Based on a 150 lb person

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