SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Adine Deford, Cynthia Dunlop, Harry Trott, Xenia von Wedel, Peter Silva

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Make Summer Fitness Fun

MISSION, KS -- (Marketwired) -- 05/12/14 -- (Family Features) For most people, there is typically one main motivator for wanting to get in shape for the warmer weather months -- they want to fit into the smaller, more revealing clothing of the season.

Whether it's a new swimsuit they'd like to purchase in a smaller size or they just want last year's shorts to fit more comfortably, getting a beach-ready body can often seem unattainable. But summer boasts an abundance of outdoor activities that take away the "chore" of getting in shape. Focus on the fun of the season, and before you know it, you will be fitting into your favorite summer wardrobe staples.

"Now that the weather is warmer, people are outside training more," said KT Tape Founder Jim Jenson. "It is important to have the proper training gear and equipment to avoid injury."

Go take a hike
Nothing allows you to take in the peace and tranquility of nature more than a long hike. This summer, incorporate many long hikes into your weekly routine and build up your endurance with this beneficial cardio exercise. Check with your county and state parks for trails and expand on your hiking skills, advancing in difficulty levels and length as the season progresses.

What it works: Hiking engages the quadriceps, hamstrings, calves and gluts. This activity also strengthens your abdominal core, especially while carrying a heavy pack.

Break a sweat, courtside
All you need to increase your heart rate is a basketball and an empty court at the local park or school playground. Practice shooting, normal dribbling, dribbling while doing sit-ups and dribbling behind the back of your legs. Make it a weekly event to gather for a game with friends and you'll forget you are even working out.

What it works: Basketball can be a full-body workout, but it mainly targets your triceps, shoulders, biceps and pectoral muscles.

Go for a swim
While the summer days often bring about occasions to relax by the pool, there's no reason not to jump right in. Take refuge from the sun's heat and burn calories at the same time by swimming. This exercise is a top choice for those with physical limitations or who find simple cardio activities -- such as walking, hiking or jogging -- difficult or painful.

What it works: Swimming works all major muscles groups, especially the shoulders, abdominals, legs, hips and back.

When the weather warms up and spending hours at the gym sounds less appealing, give a few of these fun activities a try. For more fitness tips, visit www.elivingtoday.com.

Take care of your muscles
By engaging in a workout routine, you've already proven that you care for your body. But do you have a care plan for the muscles that take you to your next level of fitness? Here are some ways to keep those hard working muscles in top shape so you can give it your all at every workout.

Warm up and cool down
Regardless of the sport or activity you pursue, it's always best to ease into it slowly and build your endurance as you go. Warming up can include light jogging, walking or performing the activity at a very slow pace. At the end of your routine, be sure to lightly stretch out each major muscle group you worked.

Have a backup plan
In case of injury, always have a reliable pain relief and support product on hand, such as KT Tape, an elastic sports and fitness tape designed for muscle, ligament and tendon pain relief and support. It's lightweight, comfortable to wear and can be used on many common injuries, such as lower back pain, knee pain, shin splints and tennis elbow. For more information, visit www.kttape.com.

Listen to your body
If you should experience any sharp or sudden pains while exercising, don't ignore the warning signs. Working out through the pain may make a small injury much worse. As a general rule, if it feels wrong, stop the workout.

Engage in various activities
A body involved in different exercises will call on different muscle groups. This type of cross training prevents overly stressing one area of muscle.

Allow the body to rest
In order to achieve the maximum benefit of your workout, your muscles need proper nourishment. This means sleep is extremely important, but it also means resting for a few days in between workouts. A proper rest period will give muscles time to heal.

Today's trends in fitness
For those who long for a little variety in their fitness routine, here are some new trends taking shape -- for indoors and outdoors -- that may be just what you need to take your fitness to the next level.

Body weight training
This new trend in fitness works by using your own body weight as resistance, which can help you shape muscles, tone, increase flexibility and ultimately, burn fat.

High intensity interval training
This routine is great for those who are short on time, requiring extreme exertion in short intervals followed by a shorter recovery time.

Yoga by air
Yoga's newest offering is called aerial or antigravity yoga, which combines classic yoga moves with acrobatics; all while being suspended in the air from a hammock.

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