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Take a 4th of July fitness challenge


The July 4th vacation is almost here.

Since we are more free to roam around this time, what are your plans? Beach, mountains, inflatable pool and an adult drink in the garden? July is the middle of the year, and what better time to take stock of the fitness goals we set for January 1 and start a little “something” to shake up the old routine.

Exercising when it becomes routine can not only become boring, it can become totally ineffective. Our bodies respond to exercise by adapting and changing. We develop more endurance, increase our strength and flexibility, and lose or maintain a healthy body weight. Having said that, if we keep doing the same old, same old, our bodies are, in essence, “stuck” and all the training we do will be for naught. Also, if boredom sets in, we tend to skip all workouts. Therefore, in honor of the July 4th vacation, I challenge you to pick a new exercise routine or two to try by January 1 and see what happens. What have you got to lose other than a belt size or two?

Yours truly has traveled the world (actually the internet) to find something new and different to explore:

– Plogging: this one is courtesy of the friendly Swedes. In an effort to become more environmentally conscious, they developed Plogging, which combines jogging and garbage collection! Groups of runners are equipped with gloves and trash bags and run while collecting trash along the highways. Considering our county wide efforts to clean things up, I think it would be a good thing to deploy here in Robeson County.

– POUND: Pound is a class workout that combines cardio, conditioning and strength training with yoga and Pilates style movements. Better yet, you can use chopsticks and drum to the beat! Participants use weighted chopsticks throughout the class. I have found courses available as close as Fayetteville. Go to poundfit.com to find other locations and information.

– Welcome to the Jungle: As wacky as it sounds, animal movements as exercise are all the rage in the fitness world. By using just a medicine ball and a few glide discs (foot sliders) you too can get in shape like Mowgli and Baloo! Bear races are a CrossFit staple, but you can add cricket jumps, monkey mixes, and Komodo dragon boards to name a few. I found a complete set with instructions on Shape.com so you can try it out.

– Get in Shape with HIIT: HIIT stands for High Intensity Interval Training and is the latest and greatest in the fitness world. HIIT workouts are really at the heart of CrossFit, but they’re now showing up as short, stand-alone workouts that you can do in the gym or at home. Training involves running various high-intensity exercises for short periods of time. The full workout may only last 15 minutes, but you’ll burn calories, build muscle, and be in good shape. Google HIIT to get a feel for how to get intensity into your workout.

These are just a few of the ways you can modify your workout for the fourth. You can also take your current favorite fitness mode and tweak it a bit. If you’re a walker sprinkle a bit of running every now and then, cyclists swap your bike for inline skating or, since it’s so hot, we should all schedule some time for swimming. Sky is the limit. As usual, before starting any new exercise activity, consult your doctor and make sure everything is clear.

Kathy Hansen has over 30 years of experience in the health and fitness industry. She can be contacted by e-mail at [email protected]

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