Camping? It's easy to maintain workout

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I love camping, and guess what? Even though I'm miles away from the gym, I still give myself an incredible workout.

It may be a run, hike, swim or cycle around the camping area to get my cardio in. In terms of muscle conditioning, the options are limitless.

Lunges, step-ups and wall squats are my most favorite lower-body exercises while away from the gym, because they are so efficient and effective -- and you can do them anywhere. They target all your lower-body muscles and train your balance, as well.

For the upper body, I tend to rely on push-ups and tricep dips, but if you can manage to purchase an exercise tube with handles, your choices are so much greater. If you have a tube, you can wrap the tube around a pole, tree, or fence and perform back rows, lat pull-downs, tricep press-downs and kickbacks. You can also sit and wrap the tube under a chair and perform overhead shoulder presses and overhead tricep extensions. You can stand on the tube and perform bicep curls and lateral shoulder raises. Your choices are numerous, and a tube isn't going to take up too much space or weight in your camping gear.

Your abdominal work, of course, can be done anywhere using good old crunches or other stabilization exercises like planks or V-sits.

Stretching, a component that should not be neglected while away, can be done anywhere. There's nothing better than stretching or performing some yoga exercises at the campsite or cottage by the lake. What a great way to finish a workout and start or finish the day.

Here's a sample camping workout that should take you less than an hour. We've reviewed most of these exercises in past weeks, so go back if you need photos to refresh your memory. Perform one set of each exercise.

• Cardio: 20 minutes of swimming, running, power walking, or any other workout that you'd enjoy. Take time to enjoy the scenery, listen to the sounds and smell the beautiful fragrances of the outdoors.

• Wall squats: Stand against a wall with your feet positioned away from the wall so that when you sit, your shin bone is perpendicular to the floor and your knees are positioned above your ankles. Slowly lower down until your knees are at 90 degrees. It should feel like you're sitting in a chair. Hold for 10-60 seconds.

• Row: Wrap the exercise tube around a pole and hold on to each handle. Pull the tube toward your chest as if rowing a boat. Be sure to pull your shoulder blades together. Perform 13-20 reps.

• Lunges: There are so many variations of lunges you can do. A stationary lunge is a good place to start. Stand in a split squat position with one leg in front of the other. The front knee should remain on top of your front ankle as you slowly lower the back knee toward the ground. Perform 13-20 reps each leg.

• Push-ups: On your knees or toes, drop and give me 10-15 good, old-fashioned military push-ups.

• Overhead shoulder press: Sit on a chair and wrap the tube under the seat. Hold a handle in each hand and slowly press both arms over your head. Perform 13-20 reps.

• Tricep dips: Position your hands on a chair beside your hips. Lift your hips off the chair and bring them forward just in front of the chair. Slowly take your body weight down, staying close to the chair making sure you don't let your shoulders drop any lower than your elbows. Perform 13-20 reps.

• Bicep curls: Stand on the exercise tube holding the handles in each hand. Keeping your elbows at your side, slowly pull your palms toward your shoulders. Perform 13-20 reps.

• Rotation plank: Place your hands shoulder width apart on the ground. Position your shoulders and elbows over your wrists, your abdominal muscles contracted and keep you back elongated. Hold for a few seconds. Then slowly lift one hand and rotate toward the sky. Return to the starting position and repeat to the other side, Continue for 30-90 seconds. This is a great exercise for your core.

• Stretching: Spend 6-10 minutes stretching, relaxing, doing yoga and meditating while enjoying the beautiful scenery around you.

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