Memorial Day excites all the great childhood feelings of summertime – warm, sunny days, camp, outdoor sports, and vacations. It's a perfect time to shift gears from your regular fitness routine and enjoy some seasonal pleasures. Of course, if you've been consistent throughout the winter, you'll be in better shape to maintain your fitness level while on a beach vacation or tackle more rigorous demands of adventure travel.
Take it outdoors: hiking, biking, tennis, swimming….Your winter fitness regime prepares you to do some cross-training. It gives you a foundation of strength and stamina to switch gears and take on a new activity. Even though training is sports specific – i.e. you condition the body to perform that specific activity – being fit makes it easier to adapt to a new sport.
Take it with you: One of my clients asked my help in finding inflatable weights that she could fill with water to use during her travels. Another asked me for a couple of stretch bands so she could continue her routine when away from home. My personal preference is to continue with body weight exercises, like squats, push ups and crunches.
4 for Life: Last week I wrote about four functional fitness exercises that you can do any time, any place, no equipment required. (You can see them in detail on the "Our Exercise Method" page of this site). As I mentioned last week, if I were to recommend one exercise for life, it's the squat.
A few tips will help you perform a proper squat and avoid risk of injury to the knees. The movement is the same as sitting into a chair – you bend your knees and reach back with your hips. When I tell a room full of women to imagine they are squatting over a public toilet, everyone goes right into the proper position! The important points are to keep your weight back on your heels, keep your knees aligned over your feet (not collapsing inward) and keep your knees behind your toes. You can learn all variations of the squat in my book Strength Training for Women.