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RISMEDIA, July 22, 2010—(MCT)—With summer in full swing and the warm weather here to stay, now is the time to ditch the gym and take your 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 of outdoor training:

-At the beach: Use the sand—wet or dry, it adds resistance when you’re running or walking, 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 can be used for decline push-ups or 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.

(c) 2010, Los Angeles Times.

Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

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