Beach a great place to work out

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Exercising at the beach is invigorating. You can enjoy the wonderful scenery and still challenge all fitness components. Plus it won't cost you a thing — just a little sweat and calories!

• Sand runs: Running in the sand is a lot more physically challenging than you'd think. As you sink into the sand, your muscles have to contract more forcefully to propel you forwards. Run up and down the sand-banks 10 times, or go for an easy jog down the beach.

• Hamstring curl: Lay on your stomach with your abdominals contracted. Place one foot on the heel of the other. Now slowly bend the leg in toward the buttock while your other leg is resisting the motion on the way in and out. Repeat 13-20 times each leg. You should feel this in the back of your legs ‚ the hamstrings.

• Inner thigh lifts: Lay on your side with your bottom leg straight and your top leg bent in front of the bottom leg. Now slowly lift the bottom leg a few inches off the sand and release. Before you touch the sand, lift again. Do 13-20 reps each leg. This one is good for your inner thighs.

• Table tops: Lay on your stomach propped up onto your elbows. Position your elbows so that they are underneath your shoulders. Now lift your body up so your weight is completely supported on your elbows and toes. Keep your abdominals contracted and your back in a neutral position and remember to breathe comfortably. This is an advanced exercise, so some of you may want to just hold the table top on your knees instead of your toes or eliminate the knee-to-elbow aspect of the exercise. Hold for 30-90 seconds. You should feel this one throughout your entire body and specifically your abs and back.

Sherri McMillan, M.Sc., is the owner of Northwest Personal Training in downtown Vancouver. She can be reached at www.nwPersonalTraining.com or www.ShapeupwithSherri.com.