The outdoors is your gym

Health news Health & Medical News The outdoors is your gym

Story Photo: The revived Muscle Beach area near the Santa Monica Pier has fitness equipment and a playground. (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)
The revived Muscle Beach area near the Santa Monica Pier has fitness equipment and a playground. (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

When the weather turns warm, ditch the gym and take the workout outside. Parks, beaches, hiking trails and even urban landscapes offer great opportunities to tax the cardiovascular system and strengthen muscles. Here are some tips for making the most out of training outdoors:

At the beach: Use the sand. Wet or dry, it adds resistance when you're running, walking or otherwise exercising, making the cardiovascular system work harder. And of course, you could always go for a swim.

In the park: Act like a kid. Many parks and beaches have basic jungle gym equipment such as rings, bars and low balance beams. These can be used for pull-ups, push-ups and crunches. You can also take your yoga or Pilates mat workout outside and try poses and exercises on the sand or grass.

On the trail: Don't just walk. Instead of striding up a hill, try walking lunges or traveling squats or just hop or skip up the incline. Use trees for incline push-ups and larger boulders for decline push-ups or triceps dips.

In a concrete jungle: Take the stairs. They can provide a great workout take them two at a time, go up and down sideways, or hop from one step to the next for a plyometric workout. Jump over low barriers such as parking lot wheel blocks. Use low walls and curbs for incline push-ups or step-ups.

Source: The Baltimore Sun Health News , By Jeannine Stein

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