(Jennifer Ward/for The Columbian)
It's typical at this time of year to struggle with trying to exercise, with the kids home from school, or trying to stick to a workout routine while at the summer cottage, the beach or out of town for summer holidays.
Many people decide to take a two-month sabbatical and get back on track in the fall because they can't seem to find the time to get to a gym. But it doesn't have to be this way! Every Monday over the summer, I'm going to give you easy ways to stay in shape over the summer at your local park, beach or summer cottage. If you've got kids, you can get them involved, or they can play while you become a good role model for a healthy lifestyle. So, as I tell our clients, no excuses, gang! Why let all your fitness go to waste over the summer and have to start from scratch in the fall?
Warm up by walking or cycling to the park and then perform the following exercises while the kids play.
• Step-ups: At any park, there will be a bench, step or a place to elevate your foot and perform step-ups. Position yourself in front of the bench with one foot up. Keep your kneecap facing forward and your weight distributed on all four corners of your foot. Now slowly step up extending the supporting knee into a fully upright, balanced position. Now slowly lower yourself down to the starting position. Perform 8-20 reps on each leg. This is a great exercise for your legs and booty.
• Chin-ups: Every park has monkey bars, aka, a chin-up bar. Since most adults can't do full chin-ups, most of us will have to perform a modified or "jumping chin-up." Grab the bar with an underhand, shoulder-width grip. Now slowly jump using your legs to get your chin above the bar. Hold for 1-2 seconds and then slowly release toward the ground. As you get stronger, the goal is to use less and less of your legs and more of your upper body to perform the chin-up. A great exercise for your back and arms.
• V-sits: Sit upright on a bench with perfect posture. Now slowly recline back a few inches while keeping your abdominals contracted and your spine elongated. Hold the position while slowly rotating from one side to the other. Repeat this 10 times and then relax. Awesome exercise for your core.
Challenge the kids to do a few of the exercises with you.
Sherri McMillan, M.Sc., is the owner of Northwest Personal Training in downtown Vancouver. She can be reached at nwPersonalTraining.com or ShapeupwithSherri.com.