It's summer! Instead of heading to the gym to blast some calories, head to the great outdoors and experience something wildly fun that will give your muscles something to get excited about! From rock climbing to kayaking to mountain biking and wakeboarding, there are adventures-a-plenty waiting just for you. Here are several outdoor adventure activities to consider this summer:
If your summer travels take you to a mountainous area and you're looking for a real challenge, take a day and go rock climbing. If you're a beginner, it would be wise to hire a climbing professional who can teach you the ropes and at the same time, look out for your safety.
Rock climbing works the entire body and you need to have good upper body strength to attempt the moves necessary to climb the face of a cliff. To prepare for rock climbing ahead of time, work on pull-ups, push-ups, dips and other anaerobic exercises that have you lifting your own body weight. Stretching is important, too, as it will help limber you up for those difficult holds and awkward moves.
Mountain biking offers plenty of cheap thrills and chills as you blast down narrow trails, dodging rocks and tree roots, all while clinging to your bike for dear life. OK, it doesn't have to be that scary … unless you want it to be! Seriously, if you're new to the sport, leave the death-defying runs to experienced riders. Find a biking trail that's right for you on www.trails.com.
Mountain biking is a high-energy cardiovascular workout boasting loads of fun and challenges for as long as you can handle it. Your legs will be screaming in protest during some of the climbs, but they'll catch a break riding downhill. Be sure to wear a helmet and adhere to all safety rules. To prepare for mountain biking, ride the stationary bike (set to random resistance at multiple grades), take spinning classes and work on calf-raises, squats, hamstring curls, leg presses and core strengthening exercises.
There's nothing quite like getting one-on-one with nature during a kayaking trek. All that paddling tones your upper-body muscles and offers a great low-impact cardio workout. You can kayak across lakes, shoot down river rapids or go on kayaking tours to really explore nature. Make sure to use proper paddling form to avoid injuries such as rotator cuff damage or a tweaked lower back. To prepare for kayaking, focus on upper-body exercises like chest presses, inclines and declines, and do cardio on rowing machines.
Turn that lazy boat trip you've planning into an unforgettable adventure and go waterskiing or wakeboarding. As you glide through the water on skis, your core is engaged to keep you balanced, your arms and chest are working to hold onto that rope and your legs are squatting slightly to keep you on those skis. It's a full-body workout with tons of splashing fun. Wakeboarding requires more balance and you have to be able to distribute your weight evenly to avoid flying out of control. Wakeboarding works your core, upper legs, lower back and arms.
Wakeboarding and waterskiing may look easy from land, but they're not. So don't get discouraged if you can't get up your first few tries. If you can hire a teacher, you'll significantly increase your chances of success. To prepare for these water sports, do squats and the stair climber for your legs, and bicep curls, tricep pull-downs and shoulder presses and raises for your arms. Remember, the more you prepare yourself, the less likely you'll be injured and the more fun in the sun you'll have all summer long.
Just remember, while you're out there on all your summer adventures, don't forget the basics of keeping yourself hydrated and properly fueled for your excursions. Take along healthy snacks and plenty of water and always take a break when you feel you need to. As with any new activity, know all the risks, always put safety first, warm up your muscles beforehand and most importantly, enjoy yourself!
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