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Priceless Summer Workouts

June 10, 2010

We all know there’s usually a price to pay for getting in shape. Gym memberships are expensive, but we often surrender to the hefty fees because gyms provide the machines we feel we need to get in shape. While it’s true that working out on the treadmill or elliptical is one great way to get in shape, we don’t necessarily need to rely on equipment when we can easily go outside and get in shape for free! Check out these five tips for taking advantage of the great outdoors – at a wallet-friendly price point!

Water Aerobics

Dive into swimming

Swimming is not only a fun activity, but also a wonderful way to get a full body workout. Swimming laps is a great way to tone up and burn calories. If you’re a beginner in the pool or don’t enjoy swimming laps, consider water aerobics. Aqua aerobics such as leg lifts, squats and knee bends can significantly strengthen your legs and burn calories, while incorporating water weights can strengthen your upper body. Keep in mind: in the water, it is difficult to gauge how much of a workout you are getting. Just because you don’t feel exhausted doesn’t mean you’re not getting a strenuous workout, so monitor the time you are spending in the water.

Take a hike

If you’re getting bored strolling or power walking, find a hiking trail or a new uphill route that will challenge you. Hiking can strengthen your leg muscles and increase cardiovascular health and walking uphill will help burn fat and get your heart rate up. Hiking works different muscles than a treadmill because you’re not restricted to a solid, flat surface. Using hiking poles can help you balance your body and prevent accidents, so find a route that challenges you. Uphill routes and routes with great scenery are great choices. Many parks are waiving fees in honor of this month’s National Trails Day, so find a national park near you.


As you know, there are many benefits of biking. Don’t have a bike? Visit or borrow a friend’s bike – however, if possible, borrow from a friend who is close to your size, so you will be able to maneuver safely and easily. Get out your helmet, find a path and ride on!

Make your own routine

You’d be surprised how much you can do in your own backyard. Stretching, lunges, push-ups, sit-ups, squats and weight training are all excellent ways to strengthen your body and burn calories. If you need help thinking of new ideas or learning new forms and routines, rent a workout video from your local library and design a workout custom to your needs and desires. Five to ten pound weights are a great way to start weight training and pump up your backyard workout. If you don’t have any at home, replace weights with other five to ten pound items from around the house.

Team Sports

Gather up friends and organize groups for team sports such as softball, basketball, volleyball or soccer. This is a fun and social way to get in shape. Ask friends and colleagues and you may discover that many teams already exist for you to join. The activity will get you moving and make for great conversation the next day at the office.


We’d love to hear your fresh perspective!

  • What’s your favorite way to get in shape for free?
  • What’s your favorite way to get in shape outdoors?
  • Do you or your children participate in a team sport? If so, what sport and why?
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