Drug Abuse Problem

The Drug Abuse Problem

Drug abuse problem is one of the major problems facing many young people today. National surveys indicate that persons in the age group of 18 to 25 are most likely to use illegal drugs.

Drug abuse
Drug abuse

Why do young people, or why does anyone, young or old, use drugs? Studies reveal that responses such as the following are common.

  • “They make me feel good.”
  • “My friends all do it.”
  • “I’m more relaxed and friendly when I’m high.”
  • “I was curious.”

Unfortunately, the drug user’s life sooner or later becomes disrupted. Drugs can cause a wide variety of physiological and psychological problems. Drug abuse can interfere with school performance and personal relationships. It can cause lost jobs and cut short promising careers. It can ruin lives.

Many drug abusers are not aware they have a problem. They rationalize that they can stop anytime. Unfortunately, the research shows this is not true in many of the situations.

When to Get Help For a Drug Problem

  1. Do you take drugs or drink to get ready for social situations?
  2. Do you take drugs or drink to avoid facing personal problems?
  3. Do you hide your drinking or drug use from others?
  4. Do you take drugs and drink when you are alone?
  5. Do you get annoyed at others who suggest you drink or take drugs too much?

If you answer yes to many of the questions in the box above, you may have an alcohol or drug problem and should talk to an alcohol and drug counselor at your college health center.

Living a life of robust energy and fitness is a quality of life on the opposite end of the spectrum from a life of using drugs. Your quality of life does not depend on doing right or wrong or whether you are good or bad. Your quality of life is determined by your choice to live at your potential and to live each day to the fullest.

Exercise can be your drug – your recreational drug! Exercise can help you to handle personal demands, achieve career goals and maintain good health and wellness. Remember that wellness refers to engaging in behaviors that enhance the quality of your life. Regular exercise is the key to maximizing your potential.

Drug use has the potential to mess up your health and the quality of your life. Drugs used for treatment, cure, prevention, or pain relief are referred to as medicines. Such medicines have kept people alive and helped in maintaining health. When a person uses drugs for reasons other than medical treatment, this behavior is called recreational drug use. Drugs are used recreationally to lessen social tensions, to seek sensations of pleasure, to enhance physical performance, to rebel against the pressures of society, to gain peer acceptance, or for a combination of these reasons.

Drugs are classified according to the physiological affect they have on your body as follows.

Uppers and downers

  • Stimulants. Speed up your nervous system, increase alertness and excitability.
  • Depressants. Slow down your nervous system, Help you to relax (known as tranquilizers or sedatives).
  • Psychoactive drugs.  Alter moods, feelings, perceptions.
  • Narcotics. Powerful pain killers that cause pleasurable feelings.
  • Inhalants. Volatile non-drugs producing drug like effects when inhaled, substances such as glue and gasoline fall into this category.
  • Designer drugs. Illegal manufactured drugs that tend to mimic controlled substances. Generally more powerful and dangerous than the drugs they mimic.

Commonly Abused Drugs

Caffeine and alcohol are classified as drugs. All are legal and commonly used today in our society. They have the potential to be harmful if abused. Anabolic steroids, most often used by athletes, have also become a concern. The so-called recreational drugs, such as crack and marijuana, are another form of drug that can cause serious health problems.

Caffeine. Caffeine is a stimulant. Millions of people drink or ingest caffeine daily. It is found in cola drinks, chocolate, and of course, coffee. Restricting consumption to a couple of cups of coffee or cola a day allows a person to get the benefits without hurting his or her health.

Alcohol DrinksAlcohol. Alcohol, although socially acceptable, has probably caused more social, emotional, and physical damage to users and  their families than any other drug. People drink to celebrate, to relax, to ease social situations, to feel good, and for a multitude of other reasons.

Because alcohol is accepted in society as legal and appropriate, it is important to use it responsibly. This means drinking slowly (not more than one drink per hour), eating when drinking and, most important – not mixing drinking and driving.

Some people have a low tolerance for alcohol or may lose control over t heir alcohol consumption. These situations can lead to alcoholism. To date, there is no way of determining in advance who will have trouble with alcohol. A tendency toward alcoholism can be inherited, thus the drinking of alcohol can be very risk y for some people. However, the question remains, is the “inherited” from learned behavior or an actual physical connection?

Steroids. Anabolic steroids are powerful drugs that can change the way the body works. They can increase  body weight, muscle size and strength. They are looked upon as performance-enhancing agents. However, because of the serious health risks, physicians and sports organizations are against the use of steroids. Steroids are used medically to help the body heal. However, doses given for medical reasons must be carefully monitored by doctors.

Even though steroids appear to increase muscle bulk and strength, they can cause serious health problems. Side effects range from acne to cancer. Even heart attacks may show up years later after use. Bone growth can be hindered. In males, testicles shrink, with impotence and sterility resulting. Female uses end up with increased growth of facial and body hair. Over 70 harmful side effects have been identified.

Aside from physical problems, steroids can cause depression and violent behavior. Infections from steroid injections have led to infections such as hepatitis (a liver disease) and AIDS. Most important, many elite athletes who were known steroid users have died at a young age because of steroid use.

Despite these frightening facts, the use of anabolic steroids is increasing. And not just among athletes, but among fitness enthusiasts who want to experience strength gains and muscle definition beyond those seen with training and nutrition alone.

Some users report a feeling of euphoria. Many users don’t care about heart disease 20 years from now. They are only concerned with the present. Some physicians feel that steroids may be one of the most addictive drugs in America. Suffice it to say, the dangers from the use of this drug far outweigh its immediate benefits. Proper training will bulk up your muscles if this is your desire. It just might take a little longer.

Recreational Drugs

The most widely used recreational drugs are cocaine and marijuana. Use of these drugs produces feelings of exhilaration, euphoria, and well being. The effect is rapid and the high lasts from5 to 20 minutes for marijuana to 2 to 4 hours for cocaine.

After the euphoric feeling subsides, a depressed feeling often follows. Complications from cocaine use can range from cardiac problems to nervous system problems that can even result in death.  To say it simply, cocaine use can be devastating and it has no place in a healthy living style.

 

Cocaine
Cocaine

 

Marijuana, or pot, is characterized by many people as a harmless drug because it creates a relaxed and dreamy high and seems to be less addicting than some other drugs. Nevertheless, a wide range of reactions to this drug has been documented. There appear to be some potential health problems related to its use.

 

Marijuana
Marijuana

 

The Choice is Yours

Drugs prescribed for medicine have a place in helping people to achieve better health. However, unwise use of drugs can severely mess up your health and reduce your quality of life. As you begin to realize how good it feels to be physically active and to be in good physical shape, it will be easier to refrain from destructive behaviors such as using drugs or alcohol. People who have achieved a high level of wellness do not use drugs. If they do drink alcohol, they do so in moderation and control.

The choice, of course, is yours. Exercise regularly, eat properly, get adequate rest, manage stress and refrain from drugs. You might be thinking that although these things are important they are not important during your high school or college years. You may feel that for now you want to enjoy being inactive, eat what you want and will have trouble when you want, sleep less, and enjoy the parties. After all, you only live one and are only young for a short time. But you are fooling yourself if you think that such living patterns now cannot have a negative effect on the quality of your life later on.

Summary

We know without a doubt there is no place for drug dependence in a health lifestyle. The best alternative to the instant gratification that recreational drugs offer is to adopt and maintain an active way of life. Being physically fit means having a body that can function at its optimal efficiency. This translates to robust health and the availability of excess energy to fully appreciate the joys life.

Drug abuse the choice is yours.
Drug abuse or healthy life? The choice is yours.

 

 

 

Exercises You Can’t Do Without

Exercises You Can’t Do Without

Seventeen-thousand ACE-certified Fitness Professionals were asked to name the one exercise they couldn’t do without. The overwhelming winner was the multi-purpose squat, which strengthens all of the major muscles of the lower body. These  include the gluteals, hamstrings, quadriceps and calves.
 
Weight Lifter Doing Exercises

The Top Seven Choices

Following are the rest of the top choices, which can be used together to create a challenging and effective fitness program.

  1. Jump Squat
  2. Running
  3. Abdominal exercises
  4. Lunges
  5. Walking
  6. Push-ups
  7. Yoga

Stepping Up to Good Cholesterol Levels

Woman doing step aerobicsNot to be forgotten, stepping may be in the top  ten exercise choices.  You may have known that step aerobics can burn calories and is a good exercise for the heart, but did you know that research specifically has found step aerobics can step up your good cholesterol levels?

A study published in the Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness found step aerobic exercise significantly raised the HDL- cholesterol levels of the study participants. This small, eight-week study followed 45 sedentary college students. Fifteen participated in step aerobic exercise and another 15 did traditional aerobic dance. Each 45-minute session was done for three days a week. The remaining 15  in the study continued to be sedentary.

At the study’s conclusion, the investigators from Baskent University in Ankara found that both groups that were active showed a significant reduction in their overall cholesterol levels compared to the sedentary group. However, only those participating in step aerobics showed a substantial increase in their HDL cholesterol levels.

Although researchers concluded that step aerobics is effective in modifying cholesterol, they did not speculate on reasons why that was the case.

Healthy Honey Milk Balls

No Bake Honey Milk Balls

These sweet, crunchy milk balls make a great treat to have on hand! Peanut butter can be a very nutritious part of your diet as can honey. Honey is a rich source of carbohydrates, providing 17 grams per tablespoon, making it ideal for your muscles since carbohydrates are the primary fuel the body uses for energy. And milk…well, we all know the benefits of milk for calcium and other nutrients! If you are lactose intolerant, purchase lactaid, or soy milk. Any form of lactose free milk you prefer will work in this recipe. You can purchase soy milk in an Instant Non-Genetically Engineered Soy Milk Powder to replace regular milk powder. This milk powder is put out by Now Foods. Soy Milk has no cholesterol and is extremely low in saturated fat. Since it has no lactose, it is a great alternative for lactose intolerant individuals.

Healthy Honey Milk Balls Recipe Banner

Ingredients for Honey Milk Balls:

1/4 cup honeyJar of Honey
1/4 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup dry milk, nonfat
1/2 cup crushed cornflakes

Directions:

Mix honey and peanut butter. Gradually add dry milk and mix well.

Chill mixture for about an hour for easier handling.

With greased hands, form into small balls. Roll in crushed cereal flakes. Chill until firm.

Refrigerate leftovers within 2 hours.

Serving Size: Serving Size: 2 honey milk balls

Recipe yields 20 servings.

Nutrition Information Per Serving:  carton-and-bottle-of-milk

  • Calories 40
  • Total fat 1.5 grams
  • Saturated fat 0 grams
  • Trans fat 0 grams
  • Cholesterol 0 milligrams
  • Sodium 15 milligrams
  • Total Carbohydrate 6 grams
  • Dietary Fiber 0 grams
  • Sugars 5 grams
  • Protein 1 gram

Notes: Honey should not be given to children less than one year of age.

Honey tastes sweeter than sugar. When substituting honey for sugar (other than in baked goods),  start by using half as much honey as sugar; then adjust to taste.

See also: Sweet Choice of Honey

Fitness Guidelines for Adults

Fitness Guidelines for Adults

All adults should avoid inactivity. Some physical activity is better than none. Adults who participate in any amount of physical activity achieve health gains. Learn what the fitness guidelines are for adults and get moving!

  • Moderate Activity Fitness GuidelinesFor substantial health gains, adults should do at least 150 minutes a week of moderate intensity exercise.  If your exercising at a vigorous level, 75 minutes a week of aerobic physical activity is enough. You can also do the equivalent combination of moderate and vigorous intensity aerobics. Aerobic activity should be performed in episodes of at least 10 minutes and should be spread throughout the week.

 

  • Vigorous Physical Activity Fitness GuidelinesFor additional and more extensive health gains, adults can increase aerobics to 300 minutes a week of moderate intensity. That is equal to five hours of aerobics.  You could also do 150 minutes a week of vigorous intensity aerobic physical activity.  Another option is a combination of moderate and vigorous intensity activity. Additional health gains occur when you are physically activity beyond this amount.

 

  • Adults should also do muscle-strengthening activities that are moderate or high intensity. All major muscle groups should be exercised on 2 or more days a week. These activities provide additional health gains. Visit our Essential Exercises section for exercises for all levels of fitness.

Muscle Strengthening to meet fitness guidelines

Over 55?

You can exercise a bit less strenuously, but should still exercise! Check out our Exercise Guidelines for Seniors for information and exercises modified for seniors. We offer many different exercises to work each major muscle group safety and effectively. You want to stay in shape as you age to continue enjoying an active quality of life.

Physical Guidelines Level for Adults

Recommended Physical Activity Amounts for Aduts Infographic

In Summary

Adults should do 150 minutes of moderate intensity aerobics every week.

Instead of 150 minutes of moderate intensity, you could do 75 minutes of vigorous aerobics each week. Be sure you are in good shape if you choose this option.

Muscle strengthening should be done twice a week. All major muscle groups should be challenged with resistance. If you are new to muscle toning, consider Exercising with Therabands.

If you have any specific health issues, do consult with your doctor before beginning any exercise program.

Source: US Dept of Health and Human Services, Physical Fitness Guidelines for Americans

Weight Lifting Youth

Weight Lifting Youth

Weight lifting youth practice as a sport to test strength and resistance. A method to improve size of the muscles. Weight lifting as a sport gives the body endurance and strength. Weight lifting youth may get a great jump start to healthy lifetime habits.

Weight Lifting Youth
Weight Lifting Youth

 

Weight lifting has now become common, even among kids. Many young boys and girls endeavor to become future weight lifting champions and some of them are just doing it for getting a toned body and to make them more attractive.

Youth can practice weight lifting – there is no such rule that weight lifting is only for adults. An old wives tale claims that kids should avoid lifting heavy weights because it can affect their growth. The wives tales says that kids who lift heavy weights tend to be shorter in height.

But this is not true. There are many kids practicing weight lifting who experience no physical deformity. The rumor of them becoming short in height has scared some parents to where they won’t allow their child to participate in weight lifting; however, take comfort as science has proven there is no bad effect on kids from weight lifting.

However, there are some things which should be noted when weight lifting youth hit the gym. Weight lifting for kids is a good option for exercise, but good lifting procedure and sensible workouts are very important to avoid injury.

What Weight Lifting Youth Should be Aware Of

Kids are very enthusiastic in everything they do, whatever it may be. The main problem with them is they loose interest quickly, so let’s look at some ways to keep it fun.

It’s essential for weight lifting youth to maintain proper form when they hit the gym. A small mistake can lead to an accident. With the necessary and correct instruction, weight lifting youth can practice an ideal sport for not only exercise but also to build confidence.

For weight lifting youth, start the off by getting the technique right, then proceed to strength gains. Once they have good technique, they won’t have trouble in the future with injuries.

Lifting Barbell Weight
Lifting Barbell Weights

If later on, they want to take their lifting further as a professional weight lifter, they’ll have already have a head start.

Remember, weight lifting exercises should be done with a trainer because kids can become too eager and careless which can lead to accidents that may result in permanent damage.

Weight lifting isn’t an easy sport, as it demands a lot of dedication; however, it can be a good sporting option for many youth.

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7 Reasons Muscles Stop Growing

7 Reasons Muscles Stop Growing

Does it appear that your muscles have stopped growing after a few months of training even though you are training very hard?

Why Muscles Stop Growing
Why Muscles Stop Growing

 

7 reasons muscles stop growing and how to get them to grow again.

  1. You are training too hard. Every time you train your muscles intensely, you are actually tearing down your muscle fibers. Your muscles need to recover from these damages. During the recovery period, the muscles also gain in strength. This is why it is so important to only train each muscle group once or at most twice a week.
  2. You are training too long. After 45 minutes of intensive training, your cortisol level will increase. This hormone is known to destroy muscle cells. Therefore, you can keep your workout intense but do not workout more than an hour each session.
  3. You are sleeping too little. You need to sleep well for good muscle growth. Your muscles repair grow when you sleep. So if possible, sleep more than 8 hours a day and watch those muscles grow fast!
  4. You are abusing alcohol. Alcohol is known to break down muscle mass. This is a common cause as to why muscles stop growing.
  5. You never change your workout routine. It’s a good idea to change your workout routine every 6 to 8 weeks. Your body can adapt to a routine and muscles stop growing.
  6. You do not progressively overload your muscles. You must try to increase your reps or weight every time you train a particular muscle group. Otherwise, your muscles are not being challenged to cause growth.
  7. You do not eat sufficient protein. If you want to build bigger muscles, you must eat more protein. Protein is the building block for your muscles. It is recommended that you have 1 gram of protein per pound of your body weight equivalent. If enough protein is not consumed with your normal diet, you can supplement with protein shakes. A lack of protein can be a reason muscles stop growing.

There you are, the 7 reasons why your muscles stop growing even though you are training hard. These 7 reasons and fitness tips on how to overcome them will be sufficient for an average bodybuilding beginner.

Don’t Forget Recovery Nutrients

Fresh red plumsMany highly active exercisers do not take in enough recovery nutrients before, during or after training. This leaves the body over-trained, tired and susceptible to injury.

For an active adult, it is important to understand that your recovery nutrients are just as important as your workouts. As you age, your body becomes less effective at recovering from activity. However, you can significantly combat this natural process by consuming more quality nutrients like carbohydrates, protein, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. When you have a tough workout, you need to put yourself into what is called positive nitrogen balance.

A positive nitrogen balance means that your body is using more protein for tissue repair and growth than it is losing due to hard training or activity. Inadequate protein consumption leaves your muscles starving for protein that is so important for muscle tissue repair, growth and maintenance. It is also important to get ample sleep and rest and to consume quality carbohydrates so your muscles will have the energy to fuel your high activity.

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Ways Alcohol Destroys Muscle Gain

Five Ways Alcohol Destroys Muscle Gain

Alcohol is far more harmful than most people think, and it’s very important that you understand how alcohol destroys muscle gain. This drug affects your progress both in and out of the gym.

Alcohol Destroys Muscle Gain
Alcohol Destroys Muscle Gain

 

Aspiring muscle-builders all over the world frequently ask, “does drinking really affect the muscle growth process?”

The answer: Yes, too much alcohol will almost definitely have a significant negative impact on muscle building results. Literally, alcohol destroys muscle gain.

Alcohol is far more harmful than most people realize. It is very important that you understand how this drug (yes, alcohol is a drug) will affect muscle building.  If you are serious about achieving an impressive physique you need to accept that alcohol destroys muscle gain.

5 Ways That Alcohol Destroys Muscle Gain.

  1. Alcohol negatively affects protein synthesis. Protein synthesis is the process where amino acids are joined together to form complete proteins. Excessive alcohol consumption slows this process down by up to 20 percent!  Since  muscle is made up of protein, you can see how this is a problem.
  2. Alcohol lowers testosterone levels and increases estrogen. Testosterone is the most important muscle building hormone in your body. One of the limiting factors that determines how much muscle a person can gain is their level of free-flowing testosterone.
  3. Alcohol causes dehydration. The kidneys must filter very large amounts of water in order to break down alcohol, and this can result in severe dehydration within the body. Water plays an absolutely crucial role in the muscle building process. This means that becoming even slightly dehydrated is a recipe for disaster. Your muscles are comprised of 70 percent water.
  4. Alcohol depletes the body of vitamins and minerals.   Alcohol consumption causes vitamins A, C, the B’s, calcium, zinc and phosphorus to be drained at rapid rates. Vitamins and minerals keep every single process in your body functioning properly, and many of these processes involve muscle growth and maintenance.
  5. Alcohol increases fat storage. With 7 empty calories per gram, alcohol can actually be quite fattening.

Alcohol is also a calorie-dense liquid.

It is important to have fun in life, but too much fun with alcohol can lead to problems. Yes, alcohol destroys muscle gain, and it wreaks havoc on your liver. If you are serious about achieving significant muscle building results, you may wish to monitor your intake of alcohol and make sure that you are consuming it in moderation. A few drinks here and there aren’t a problem, but if you find yourself drinking every weekend you can almost certainly kiss your muscle gains goodbye.

If you do decide to go out and party, make sure to drink plenty of water and to properly nourish yourself with vitamins and minerals. You should also eat a protein rich meal.  Keep your drinking nights infrequent. No more than once a month is recommended. Properly nourish yourself to lessen negative effects from alcohol.

As long as you monitor what you’re doing you can achieve an impressive physique and have a great social life at the same time!  If you are prone to over-indulge from time to time, check out Effects of a Hangover.

For holiday drinking, consider trying out some Festive Alcohol Free Drink Recipes.

Weight Training Misconceptions

Weight Training Misconceptions

Your body can broken be broken down into 6 different muscle groups.

  1. Chest
  2. Back
  3. Biceps
  4. Triceps
  5. Shoulders
  6. Legs
Weight Training Muscle Groups
Weight Training Muscle Groups

 

All muscle reacts pretty much the same to weight training. Therefore, the following misconceptions apply to all 6 main muscle groups.

1. The longer engage in weight training, the stronger you’ll get.
False. As we are working out, we are trying to slightly damage our muscle fibers by overloading them to the point of exhaustion. The healing process is when the muscle repairs and strengthens. You need to rest the muscle well in-between workouts for maximum build.

2. To lose weight you MUST eat less.
False. You want to focus your efforts on raising your metabolism. That is the master key to almost effortless weight loss. The faster your metabolism burns calories the easier it will be to lose weight. Weight training builds muscle that burns fat.

You do need to be sensible in your food choices. Watch the junk food, etc., but starving yourself for a time just to shed pounds only leads to a nasty pattern of weight-loss and re-gain.

3. Muscle weighs more than fat.
Well…yes and no. Muscle tissue is more dense than fat. If you lost five pounds of fat and gained five pounds of muscle the scale would not show a difference. But your pants sure would!

Fat does not actually turn into muscle. You simply replace fat with muscle. Fat must be burned. This is where weight training benefits weight loss.

Muscle lies underneath fat. As your muscles get stronger and firmer, they push out the fat. We then have larger muscles which “push out”. This sounds fine if you’re weight training to bulk up. Aren’t most of us looking to trim down? If you are looking to bulk up, you don’t want that outer layer of fat. You need to burn that fat off AND build the muscle. This is it’s so important to do aerobic exercise in addition to weight training.

So there you have it – three major misconceptions laid to rest. Spread the word!

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Metabolism 101

Metabolism 101

Metabolism is the rate at which we burn the calories that we have consumed during each day. There are a number of factors that determine the speed of your metabolism.

Metabolism Factors

Food

Metabolism food factor
Metabolism food factor

The first factor in the speed of your metabolism is the food you eat. Determining factors are:

  • How many meals you eat.
  • What kind of food you eat.
  • How much you eat during each sitting.

All of these factors can be changed to improve your metabolism.

Lean Body Mass

Some people are born able to carry more lean body mass (muscle) than others – without exercising. For the rest of us, proper exercise can increase our lean body mass substantially. The more fat your body has, the slower your metabolism will be. By exercising and building muscle you will both decrease your body fat, while increasing your lean body mass. So itʼs a win win situation.

Age

As we age, our metabolism naturally slows down. Studies tell us that after the age of 20, our bodies will lose 1/3 to 1/2 pound of muscle tissue per year if we do not exercise on a regular basis. Losing 1/3 to 1/2 pound of muscle every year after the age of 25 causes our percentage of body fat to rice significantly.

Increasing Metabolism

Because our bodies are made for survival it begins to hoard fat if it feels like it wonʼt get food for a long time. Basically, if you starve your body it will go into starvation mode. Our bodies are made to first use the nutrients in the food we eat for energy.

When the nutrients run out, the body resorts to energy from the muscles (you will lose lean muscle mass), then finally your body resorts to the bodies fat supply. This is why fad diets never work.

  • Eat More. Eat Often.This doesn’t mean sit down and pig out! This means eat smaller meals throughout the day – preferably 5 to 6. The combination of small balanced, frequent meals allows your body to utilize the nutrients it needs when it needs them. Smaller, more frequent meals stimulate your metabolic rate as your bodyʼs digestive system works and you maintain a stable glucose level. This will give you more energy, prevent hunger pains and keep you from binging.

    Lifting Barbell Weights
  • Workout With Weights.
    Weight training is a great way to increase your metabolism. Lifting weights places a high demand on your body to burn more calories for faster growth and recuperation. Your muscle mass is the single most important factor in determining how many calories you burn because itʼs a very metabolically active tissue. The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn – even at rest.  Consider our manual, Working Out With Weights.
  • Aerobic Exercise. You should perform some type of aerobic exercise at least 3 times per week and youʼll not only burn calories, but also speed up your metabolism. Always keep this in mind while doing your cardiovascular exercise.

See also: Using Nature to Boost Metabolism

Summertime Fitness Fun

Summertime Fitness Fun

Get outside and get some summertime exercise fitness fun – here are some ideas.

King or Queen of the Jungle

The great outdoors are great for cardiovascular exercise, but what about building strength? Add resistance to your outdoor run, walk, or bike ride with an assist from the playground. Grab hold of the monkey bars for pull ups that strengthen your upper body. Or, use the bottom of a slide to support your upper body for dips that shape triceps, thighs and abs.

 

Playground slide
Playground slide

 

Jumping for Joy

If your kids are the only ones using the trampoline in your backyard, you’re missing out a a huge fitness perk! Jumping can burn up to 350 calories in 30 minutes. But play it safe: Experts recommend that you master a squat before taking to the trampoline. A squat improves the balance you’ll need to jump safely.

To safely perform squats:

  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart and arms at your sides.
  • Lower your body as far as you can without extending your knees past your toes. Push down on your heels as you come back up.

See also: Rebounding On A Mini Trampoline. Rebounding simply means bouncing on a mini trampoline, This activity offers a good cardiovascular workout. And it is fun! When the cold sets in and summertime fitness passes, bring the trampoline inside. No excuses!

Enjoy summertime fitness fun.
Enjoy summertime fitness fun.

 

Play Ball!

If you really want to go the extra mile, contact a local parks department to volunteer as a coach for a pee wee softball, basketball or soccer team. From running bases to shagging flies to passing drills  you’ll have a ball playing with kids. And with a weekly practice and game schedule, summertime fitness will factor into your regular routine. Enjoying a team sport with team members is an emotional lift, too.

 

Play ball!
Play ball!

Use your imagination – and read Play to Get Fit for more ideas!