Saturday, April 28, 2012

Video - Cardio Pilates Workout

Here is a quick and fun Pilates workout, and this one is a bit different, as it focuses on raising your cardio a bit, still while maintaining control and tone in the muscles. Placing emphasis on quick repetition raises the heart rate for a unique take on a Pilates routine. If you want to get a quick taste of Pilates with a twist, check this one out, and just repeat the video 3 times for the full workout, which takes 20 minutes, tops.

Cardio Pilates Exercises
Get your heart pumping with these 5 cardio Pilates moves featuring Cassey of Pop Pilates! Visit Today for yummy recipes! Check us out on Facebook: Follow us on Twitter - Visit Sarah's Yo...

More Fun Pilates Cardio Workout Videos:
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Thursday, April 26, 2012

Getting Rapid Results With Pilates

Pilates is a form of exercise developed by Joseph Pilates. Joseph was a physical-culturist in Germany. He developed this method of exercise in the early to mid 1900s. It was developed because Joseph saw a lack of attention to mind-body exercise. He strongly believed that the core muscles, the muscles in your stomach and back, were essential to overall health and physical well-being.

Joseph Pilates (Photo credit: rozic)
Originally Pilates was used by dancers. However, as more and more people became aware of the method and the results, it caught on. Today Pilates is taught all over the world. There are more than 14,000 instructors worldwide.

Why Pilates?

Pilates is designed to increase strength, flexibility and control of your body. It’s an extremely controlled and precise series of movements. If you’ve ever taken a Pilates class it is a real physical challenge. You will walk away from a class knowing you’ve worked out and sore muscles are almost guaranteed.

However, you’ll also see results quickly with Pilates. It burns fat. It tones muscles. And you’ll notice an improvement in your posture. Many experts say that Pilates helps cure many chronic pain issues.

What to Expect in a Pilates Class

There are two different types of Pilate’s classes. You can either take a class in a gym where there are traditional Pilates machines. These machines are designed to facilitate or force you to perform the movements correctly. The equipment uses pulleys and resistance to strengthen your core muscles.

The other type of Pilate’s class you might take involves mat work. You perform the exercises on the floor of the gym and you use a mat, a yoga mat is fine.

While Pilates is a series of concentrated and specific movements it is also adaptable. You don’t have to be in great shape to take and benefit from a Pilates class. In fact seniors, pregnant women and fitness beginners can receive great benefits from Pilates. It is adaptable to your fitness level.

Pilates in Your Home

Because Pilates is a series of specific exercises and movements it’s easily done in your own home. All you need is a map and an instructor. The “10 Minute Solution: Rapid Results Pilates” DVD is a great home workout. Taught by Lara Hudson, it was rated the Best Pilates DVD of the Year by Health Magazine.

The 10 Minute Solution provides you with 5 distinct Pilates workouts. Each is only ten minutes long. Because each ten minute workout focuses on a different area of your body, you can also combine the workouts for a longer routine. At the end of the week you will know you’ve worked to strengthen and tone your entire body. If you have just ten minutes a day and want to try Pilates or focus on strengthening and conditioning, try “10 Minute Solution: Rapid Results Pilates”. It retails for $10 (or less) and it may be the best thing you can do for your health and fitness. (There are also several other good "10 Minute Solution" Pilates DVDs you may want to try. A few are listed below.)

More 10-Minute Solution Pilates DVD Workouts:
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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Two Main Methods of Pilates

Pilates is one of my favorite forms of exercise. Not only does it give great muscle tone and definition, improve flexibility, and strengthen the core muscles to help avoid injury, it's also a lot of fun, and easy to modify for different fitness levels. There are usually two forms of Pilates.  There are the mat bases ones and equipment based Pilate’s exercises. With Pilates, the quality of exercises is the main goal.

Curso de Instructor de Pilates
Curso de Instructor de Pilates (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Exercises should be performed through a slow, sustained type of movement using abdominal control and the proper breathing methods.  There are many books and videos that are on the market to help the consumer (for some of my favorites, see below), but it is important when beginning to seek good instruction from a qualified Pilates teacher to make sure you are performing the movements correctly and efficiently for best results.

The mat based Pilates exercises are usually the most popular type.  This is a series of exercises that are done on the floor using gravity and your body's own weight for resistance. 

The general goal of mat-based Pilates is to condition the deeper supporting muscles of the body and to improve the posture and balance.

Equipment-based Pilates exercises are for the more serious Pilates practitioner. This form of Pilates will include specific equipment and normally will be done in a fitness center or class environment (although you can also purchase Pilates equipment for home use as well).

Curso de Instructor de Pilates
Curso de Instructor de Pilates (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Pilates also has free weights like dumbbells that will also offer resistance to the muscles. It is important that the equipment is used correctly and most people who practice the equipment-based Pilates do so with a qualified Pilates trainer.

Whether you do Pilates at home from a book or video, or in a gym with a trainer and equipment, it's a great way to get a great and effective workout that will make you look and feel good! 

Note: Pilates is very low impact but it is still important to know the general precautions to take before beginning any Pilates or other workout program. If you are uncertain about your fitness level, you should talk to your doctor first before beginning Pilates. Women that are pregnant should ask their doctor first. People that are over the age of 40 with any preexisting medical condition or muscle problems, or that are obese should also speak with their doctor first. 

Pilates Resources for At-Home Practice:
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Saturday, April 21, 2012

Video - 6-Minute Full Body Toning Workout

Believe it or not, this quick workout works the whole body in just 6 minutes. Yes, it's fast! But you'll work muscles from your ankles to your arms, and everything in between. Some of the exercises can be challenging, so be sure to note her suggestions for modifications so you don't overdo it, and you may want to slow it down a bit to make sure you're using your muscles and not momentum for some of the faster ones.

If you've only got 6 minutes to get toned, this is a good one to bookmark and keep in your arsenal of quick workouts for whenever you need one.

Meggin's Short Workout #1
Great 6 minute workout for a fast toning session. Exercise with a gymnast, stuntwoman, gymnastics coach, and aerialist!

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Thursday, April 19, 2012

6 Tips for Creating an Exercise Plan You’ll Stick To

We all know the best way to lose weight and live healthy is to have a good diet and exercise regularly.  However, sometimes that feels harder than it sounds. Staying motivated when you don't feel like working out, or are feeling stressed or pressed for time, can be a challenge that derails the most detailed of exercise programs. Here are some helpful tips to help you develop an exercise plan you can stick with.

1. Don’t be drastic.  Making an exercise plan is great, but let’s be realistic.  If you’re not a runner and make it a goal to run 5 miles a day, every day, you’ll find it hard to stick to the routine.  You should start small and make gradual increases to your exercise plan.  Start by working out 30 minutes a day, three days a week.  Once you’ve stuck to that for a few weeks, then start working out for longer periods, harder workouts, or more days.  Sure, your progress may be slower to start with, but you’re more likely to actually continue progressing.

Michael Hobson-Personal Trainer, Group Exercis...(Photo credit: Wikipedia)2. Have some fun! (Obviously that's our motto here!)  Treadmills and stair machines are great ways to burn calories fast.  They’re also great ways to get bored and stop going to the gym fast. :-)  If you’re bored and in pain, you’re much more likely to make excuses to skip your workout.  Try new things till you find something you like.  If you’re having fun while you work out, you’re much more likely to keep doing it. 

3. Give yourself a reward.  Is there a great new outfit you want, or an electronic device you've been drooling over?  Develop a reward system for yourself, i.e. “if I stick to my workouts for two months, I can buy that outfit”.  If this doesn’t work, try smaller rewards for smaller achievements like “if I work out three times this week, I get to see a movie”.  If you find you’re rewarding yourself without achieving your goals, get someone you can depend on to hold you accountable (see next tip).

4. Bring along a friend.  People who work out with a buddy are a lot more likely to stick with an exercise plan.  If you have a workout date set up, you’ll feel bad if you cancel it, so you’re more likely to go.  You also have the benefit of a voice of encouragement pushing you along.  Lastly, having someone there to talk to will make the time fly by faster and you’ll get bored less quickly.

5. Mix it up.  We already know that getting bored can keep you from going to work out.  Even if you really like a certain physical activity, you’ll probably still get bored with it eventually.  Instead of doing the same exercise every time, find several activities you like and alternate them. Not only will you have more fun, you'll also get a better workout, since you'll be varying the muscles you use, and probably the intensity as well, which is much better for the body, and helps you keep from hitting that fitness plateau we've all heard about.

JAVIER_LAYUS_PERSONAL_TRAINER_ EspaƱol: JAVIER...PERSONAL_TRAINER (Photo credit: Wikipedia)6. Get a personal trainer.  Personal trainers are people you pay to not only develop the best exercise plan for your body and goals, they also help you stay on track by giving you tips, motivation, and are there to hold you accountable.  Yes, personal trainers can sometimes be expensive, but if you’re serious about losing weight and sticking with it, it may worth it to trim fat in other areas of your budget.  Plus, that money you spent will be more of a motivator to keep going. (See our previous article, Should You Hire A Personal Trainer? for more on this tip if this interests you.)

Being healthy is a commitment, and like anything worth doing, it takes a bit of effort, and it will take a little time, but if you find a workout plan that works for you, you’re well on your way to a healthy, fit new you!  (For some more ideas for staying motivated, and some fun ways to work out, check out

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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Fun & Easy Twenty Minute Exercise Routines

Want to exercise but lack time and ideas? Here are some quick ideas to get you moving. These routines can be performed at home, in a hotel room, or even on your lunch break, and they're only 20 minutes, so they're easy to fit into your day, even when you're pressed for time.

1. Weight training.
Deltoid - Muscles of the Upper Extremity Visua...Deltoid - Muscles of the Upper Extremity Visual Atlas, page 39 (Photo credit: robswatski)For the upper body, choose a light weight, say one to five pounds.
  • Begin with the bicep curl. The bicep is the two headed muscle on the front of the upper arm. It works to bend the arm forward at the elbow. 
  • The triceps is the three headed muscle on the back of the upper arm. They serve to lift the arm straight out behind you. 
  • The shoulders are next. There are three heads: the front, medial, and rear deltoid. Front and side dumbbell raises work the first two parts of the deltoid muscle. Bent dumbbell flyes work the rear deltoid muscle. 
  • To work the chest, butterflies performed with the dumbbells hit both the major and minor portion.
Three sets of eight repetitions performed for two exercises per body part will equal up to a total upper body workout that can be done in twenty minutes.
The same principle can be applied to the lower body but using heavier weights.
  • The quadriceps muscle of the front thigh has four heads that move the body along when walking. Squats and lunges work the quadriceps muscle. 
  • For the back of the legs, the hamstrings, rear leg curls isolate this muscle for a shapely appearance. 
  • Sitting or standing calf raises shape the muscle known as the gastrocnemius. 
  • Leg curls from an all fours position on the floor, with the weight held firmly in the bend of the leg isolates the gluteus muscle. 
Three sets of ten repetitions performed for one exercise per body part can be done in twenty minutes.

2. Outdoor Activities.
If you have a neighborhood, twenty minutes, and a clear day, then you have a workout! Start out slow to warm-up and then kick it in gear. Walking works all the muscle groups of the body. Avoid rocky terrain or uneven pavement. They could cause injuries to the ankles and the knees.

Compact Disc player carousel for three CDs.Compact Disc player. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)3. Dance.
All you need is a CD player - you can dance in any location, on any surface, and in many different types of footwear. Dancing works the entire body and the abdominal region in particular. With all the new dance steps today, you need a strong core just to perform them. Dancing is fun and the beat of the music keeps the body energized and motivated. Create a CD of your favorite fast-paced tunes. This is one of my favorite ways to work out - I just put on some music, dance around the living room, and before you know it I'm breaking a sweat. So whenever you have twenty free minutes, get moving to the beat and burn some calories!

All exercise has health benefits even if it’s for only twenty minutes a day. Pick one that’s interesting to you and that you enjoy and you will be more likely to stick with it over the long term. If none of these catch your eye, think up your own, or just visit this blog on a regular basis - we cover lots and lots of new fun ways to exercise - even some you may never have heard of before! You can also find more tips and suggestions at
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Saturday, April 14, 2012

Video - Weight Loss Interval Workout

Here is a quick video showing some great exercises for a circuit training workout that will get you strong and toned, and burn off the pounds quick. Yuri is one of our favorite health and fitness experts, as he approaches things from a whole-body perspective, instead of just isolated components. Interval training with exercises of different intensities "tricks" your body into burning more fat faster, and in fact the fat-burning effects last hours longer than a steady-pace workout like running on a treadmill or riding a stationary bike. Check this out for some great ideas, and visit the website below if you want to learn more about this type of weight loss training.

Weight Loss Workout | Circuit Training - give this weight loss workout a shot and experience the Fitter U circuit training difference. With workouts like these you'll lose weight faster than ever before!

Click Here to Learn More About My Fitter U Workouts....

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Thursday, April 12, 2012

One Man's Personal Fitness Story

Here is an article shared by a guy who has been working hard on his fitness for some time - he prefers not to share his name, but it's a great story, so check it out, and hopefully you'll find it helpful or even inspirational!

My Personal Fitness Journey 
-By Anonymous

More and more people are looking into ways of losing weight. Obesity is an ever increasing problem and being over-weight can cause many different health problems.

There are many different diets out there which try to help people to lose their excess fat, but  these can be very difficult to follow as the whole reason we are over weight is because we love our food! Many diets  normally recommend us to eat healthy but uninspiring foods. These diets have never really worked for me, partly because I have possibly not got the right attitude, but mainly just because I find it hard to stick to them. A month maybe, six months certainly not.

In my opinion exercise is the best way to lose weight. But going to a gym is certainly not for everyone and is somewhere I feel out of place and exposed. I always feel that people are looking, talking and laughing at me behind my back. Maybe I am just too paranoid!

I personally would recommend hiring a personal trainer. Now you might think that only the rich and famous could possibly do this but you would be wrong. There are many personal fitness trainers who are either connected to a gym or who advertise locally in newspapers or magazines.

Personal trainer assisting and correcting a cl...Personal trainer assisting and correcting a client during a fitball stretching exercise (not an actual photo of the author) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)These are specially trained people who are willing to come to your house to show you how to correctly exercise and they do not cost an arm and a leg.

If you have attempted this route before but have had a negative experience do not despair. It may well be because you just did not hit it off with that specific person. I have been using a personal trainer for the last five months and only went for him after trying out four others first.

My personal trainer is very good for me. He keeps me on my toes, and is very good at making me continue to work hard even when I want to quit. He is also very fair and seems to understand just how far to push me. Together we have worked out and agreed on a program which includes various goals for the future. He also has a good understanding of the types of food which I should and should not be eating. I am happily still able to eat a lot of foods which I like and he has also introduced me to a number of other ideas which are healthy but also very tasty.

Hiring a personal trainer was the best thing I have ever done with regards to losing weight and I would recommend it to other people. I have now lost the beer belly and still continue working hard, though it is now more as a health and overall fitness thing rather than to lose even more weight.

The trainer has even stated that I am likely to actually gain weight in the future as certain muscles grow, since muscle weighs more than fat. I will not be fat though, I will be toned and even a little muscular. I look forward to the future and can also now for the first time in a number of years enjoy shopping for clothes.

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Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Why Weight Loss Is Not The Point

This post was inspired by a friend I was recently having dinner with. (And yes, the topic is weight loss, a bit different from our usual, but it does tie into exercise here in a bit.) The friend was describing her success with Weight Watchers. While as you may know I'm not a fan of "dieting," as it's unnatural for the body, ineffective, and in the long term I believe it can cause more harm than good, Weight Watchers is the exception. I've seen several friends lose quite a bit of weight (at a gradual, natural pace), and keep it off. There are several reasons why I think Weight Watchers succeeds, while others fail. The most obvious is, of course, the reason that anyone on the program will state if you ask them - you don't have to feel deprived of your favorite foods, so you're more likely to stick with it long-term. However, I see several other reasons as well.

A diet rich in soy and whey protein, found in ...(Photo credit: Wikipedia)One is that it greatly encourages fruit and vegetable intake. Since these use little or none of your allocated points, you can fill up largely on veggies, and then add in other more point-heavy items like proteins and a few simple carbs. But you don't feel forced to eat veggies - they're just a good option to fill you up, leading you to naturally eat a diet that is more like the natural diet of humans is supposed to be - but without giving up all your favorite snacks.

Another important benefit which most people don't think about is that it naturally eliminates a lot of processed foods from your diet. "Foods" that are highly processed (many of which really aren't foods, as so many contain little or no nutritional value) are usually high in sugar and other simple carbohydrates, so guess what - most of them are also high in points!

However, in my eyes there is one big problem with the program, as well as with a lot of other weight loss programs: it focuses almost solely on weight loss. (Huh? You'll see what I mean in a minute.)

I was nodding along with my friend's success story, until this point, which stopped me cold. She said she had even started working out, but she stopped because....she started gaining weight!!  (And yes, she even stated that she understands that muscle is heavier than fat.) She said she doesn't want to work out anymore because she will gain back some of the weight that she lost.

I wanted to bang my head on the table!  Talk about not seeing the forest for the trees....

Deutsch: Das Messen des Gewichts ist ein wicht...Weight and height are used in computing body mass index, an indicator of risk for developing obesity-associated diseases. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)It's so sad that this is typical thinking in our unhealthy yet weight-obsessed society! So let me just clear up one thing:

Weight loss is not the point; the point is.........   HEALTH!!!

Let me illustrate this principle with an example:

Suppose you have two guys, let's call them John Smith and John Doe. Just two fairly average guys in their mid-40s. John Smith is a pretty healthy guy, by today's standards. He eats clean and real whole foods, for the most part, with a few less healthy splurges now and then, and he loves a good steak. He also loves to work out, and does a variety of physical activities almost daily, from weight lifting to running, biking, and even playing a few sports. It makes him feel great, and he's actually pretty darn proud of his physique, which he has maintained into his 40s. He weighs in at 200lbs, and at 5'11" is pretty muscular and has not that much body fat - maybe just very small love handles, but not much abdominal fat at all, and he still looks great shirtless.

John Doe, on the other hand, eats the SAD (Standard American Diet) - lots of processed foods, bread, meat, fairly little vegetables (unless they're fried), and although he's gone on several diets (and added in a lot of "diet" and "low-fat" foods into his daily eating habits), he has not had much success losing those extra pounds. He is more or less a couch potato, as his body hurts when he tries to exercise because he's so out of shape, and he just doesn't enjoy it. He does play a bit of basketball with some friends from time to time, but overall his exercise mostly consists of walking to and from his car before and after work each day. John Doe is also 5'11" and weighs 200lbs. He has a generous "spare tire" around his middle, and is quite flabby, with very little muscle definition. He doesn't like to remove his shirt, even at the beach.

Okay, so what is the difference between these two guys? Obviously a lot; HOWEVER...notice that their weight is the SAME!

Now, if I ask you which guy is healthier, I bet there is not a single person who would vote for John Doe.

Let me put it another way. Do you think John Smith needs to lose weight??

No! John Smith is at his perfect weight for his body type and activity level. And barring some type of unforeseen condition or disease, his health is MUCH better than John Doe's, and he has the potential to live a much longer (not to mention happier) life.

People who are focusing exclusively on weight loss as an indicator of health and fitness are missing the whole point. The point isn't weight loss, it's FAT loss. Or more specifically, it's achieving a healthy body fat percentage for your body type, AND developing healthy muscle tone and strength which will help your body stay strong, pain-free, and young-looking.

And another thing....

Eat less do moreEat less do more (Photo credit: Wikipedia)Your body was made to move! Daily, often, and in a wide variety of ways. (If God didn't mean for you to move, he would have made you a rock, or a tree.) There are literally hundreds of studies showing that regular exercise is a must for health and longevity. Daily exercise has been linked to reductions in incidence of just about every kind of disease out there, from osteoporosis, to heart disease, to even Alzheimers. And yes, when you start building muscle, you just might GAIN a little weight (oh the shock and horror!), but guess what muscle also does (besides look good, by the way, and isn't that why so many people want to lose weight in the first place?) - it burns fat! More muscle mass raises your metabolism, so that you'll burn more calories even while at rest.

The idea that you shouldn't exercise because you will gain muscle which increases your weight is just about the most backwards thinking I can imagine, and really defeats the whole purpose of dieting in the first place, which is of course, to get you healthy, trim, fit, and looking and feeling good. Sorry Weight Watchers folks - avoiding exercise just won't get you there.

And if you're trying to start an exercise program, but struggling to stick with it, stay motivated, or find forms of exercise you enjoy, be sure to check this blog on a regular basis, as we post lots of interesting, fun, and new ways to get your exercise in, that you might not have thought of. You can also find some ideas on our website at

Copyright 2012, by Rose Hillbrand (that's me!)
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Saturday, April 7, 2012

Video - Quick Outdoor Circuit Workout

There are lots of fun outdoor activities available to you now that the weather is warming up. From bike-riding, to swimming, hiking, volleyball and other sports, and more (see Tuesday's post for several fun ideas), you can find lots to do outside that is great exercise at the same time. But if you like the more "traditional" exercises, that doesn't mean you're limited to the gym or an indoor workout. Check out this video for some ideas of a quick circuit of exercises you can do outdoors or pretty much anywhere. The video also shows advanced modifications if you want to up the intensity.  No equipment needed! Just put on some shoes and sweats or other comfortable clothing and you're good to go.

Outdoor Circuit Workout Subscribe & Comment! Awesome, easy, fun outdoor workout that anyone can do. Check it out! Your going to do this little circuit 2 times! Lots of modifications for everyone so NO EXCUSES :-) So put on your fav playlist and get moving! ...

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Thursday, April 5, 2012

Want A Great Fun Workout? Ride A Bike!

I loved riding my bike as a kid. We would ride all around town, through the woods, and even sometimes back and forth to school. Bike riding kept us lean and healthy. As an adult, bike riding offers many benefits for the body, as well. Purchase a bike today and feel like a kid again!

Enjoying in Papuk riding bikeEnjoying in Papuk riding bike (Photo credit: Wikipedia)1. Bicycling is good cardiovascular exercise, building strong muscles and a strong heart. Every body needs between thirty and 60 minutes of aerobic exercise at least three days a week. Purchasing a bike with several speeds will allow you to increase your fitness level as your cardiovascular function improves. Begin by riding at an easy speed over even ground. If a challenge is what you desire, simply change your terrain.

2. Bicycling is kind to the joints. Women often experience joint pain especially in the knees as they get older. Bike riding offers exercise without the stress of impact on the joints. The aerobic benefit is comparable to jogging or running without the strain. Make sure that the seat height on your bike is adjusted to allow your legs full range of motion with each revolution. Full range of motion also promotes better circulation to the lower extremities which do the majority of the work in moving the bicycle.

3. Bicycling whips those leg muscles into shape. For muscular endurance, stick to a flat terrain, but adjust the speed of the bike as your strength improves. To avoid cramping, stretch thoroughly before and after each bike ride.

If you are looking to increase muscle definition, vary your terrain. Off-road biking on dirt trails helps to flex leg muscles as you keep the bicycle under control even on uneven ground. Steep hills are great for working the quadriceps and hamstrings.

CyclingCycling (Photo credit: tejvanphotos)4. How’s your bicycle seat? I don’t mean the one on the bike. :-)  The gluteus muscles also reap rewards from bike riding. For maximum power, raise your body about an inch off of the seat as you pedal. Squeeze your butt to control the pedaling motion. After a mile or so, those glutes should be on fire.

5. Bicycling also increases your balance. Learning to ride a bike is all about staying upright. To do that, you have to find a balance between your body and the bike. Maintaining that balance strengthens the core muscles of the abdominal region. Tightening the core muscles keeps you from falling off of the bike. The lower abdominals pull your legs back towards your body from the bottom of the cycling revolution. The lower back is also kept pain-free by a strong balanced core.

Riding a bike is not just for kids. The physical benefits only increase as you get older. Besides, bike riding is just plain fun. Especially in this gorgeous spring weather we're having. So, grab a bike and get moving!
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Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Outdoor Exercises to Combat Spring Fever

Every year we spend the winter cooped up inside - although this year not as long as usual for many parts of the country. Nonetheless, now that spring is here, we can’t wait to get outside!  Getting outdoors can not only battle spring fever, it can also get you up and moving, and start losing those leftover holiday pounds.  Exercising outdoors can give you a better workout and burn more ExercisingExercising (Photo credit: NOAA's National Ocean Service)calories than the machines at the gym, as you tend to work more muscles and get a better overall full-body workout.  As spring approaches, if you want to get outdoors and get in shape, here are some great activities you can do to start getting in shape, while enjoying this beautiful spring weather. 

* Walking.  Not only is walking a great way to get some fresh air and sunshine after being cooped up all winter, it’s also great exercise if you do it right.  For an optimal workout, walk for an hour a day at least three days a week.  You should also alter your pace during the walk, i.e. go as fast as you can for a minute, then a slower pace for a minute, etc. This will get your heart pumping without having to do a hard workout, and studies have shown it will help you lose weight MUCH faster than maintaining a steady pace for the whole time.  If you’re bored of walking around your neighborhood, why not visit a nature park or zoo? You can enjoy the change of scenery and wildlife, while getting a workout in!

* Yoga.  Sure, nowadays yoga is often done in your living room or in a gym, but this art was made to be done in the great outdoors!  So tote your yoga mat to the park or just to the backyard.   This can give you an excellent toning and strengthening workout and calm your nerves at the same time.

* Swimming.  Want to get a fantastic full body workout while your kids are playing?  Then take them down to the community pool.  Many pools have an area for kids to splash and play while the adults swim laps.  Just make sure not to leave any child that doesn’t know how to swim without adult supervision.  And when you’re done with your laps, maybe you can splash and play with your kids too.

Mountain biking in Arizona desert, USAMountain biking in Arizona desert, USA (Photo credit: Wikipedia)* Volleyball.  This sport doesn’t have to be played inside with a ref; you can play at a sand volleyball court, or just set up a net in your back yard.  Volleyball is a great way to socialize with your friends, or to meet new people by joining a league. And if you have kids, this is a great form of fun exercise for the whole family.

* Biking.  More and more cities and towns are putting in bike paths.  These are a great way to get a workout without risking serious injury by biking on rough terrain.  However, if you’re up for a challenge, there are probably paths through woods, hills, mountains, or some other difficult, but rewarding terrain.  Just be sure to wear proper safety equipment no matter where you’re biking. 

* Hiking.  If you want to get out and go, and you’re up for an adventure, why not take the family and go for a hike?  You can experience nature, get a great workout, get some fresh air, and spend some quality bonding time with your family. 

So what are you waiting for?  Get out of your artificial lighting and into the great outdoors for a workout and a fun time at the same time!
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