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Old-fashioned exercise works great when it comes to increasing

Fitness Answer Man

Fitness Answer Man

March 10, 2008|By CHAD SMITH

Dear Fitness Answer Man:

I've been active on and off for my entire life. I ran track in high school and played front yard sports with my kids. I'm 51 now and I notice I've been less active in the past few years as my workload has increased. I'm 5 feet 10 inches tall and about 25 pounds overweight, and I hate lifting weights or running on treadmills. Is there anything I can do to improve my fitness and keep in shape at my local park or in my neighborhood?

- Getting Dumpy in Hagerstown

Dear Dumpy:

Before I begin, let me say congratulations for taking action. This is usually the most difficult part of getting in shape.

As for your question, there are many ways to increase your fitness without ever touching a weight or using a treadmill. In fact, some of my favorite strength training workouts are centered around exercises that use only bodyweight for resistance.

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Remember the good old-fashioned pushup? This exercise is the most effective, yet under-utilized exercise in exisitence for building upper-body strength. How about some old-school pullups? In this day of technology, it is amazing how soon the classics are forgotten.

Get yourself some pushup bars and a doorway chinup bar from your local sporting goods store and do a few reps every morning, and watch how strong you get in a few weeks.

As for cardiorespiratory exercise, studies show there isn't much difference in health benefits if you run on a treadmill, or you run outdoors. Personally, I hate running. I've never enjoyed it. It must be mental trauma from the endless laps I did while training for high school wrestling.

But running is good for you. If you like to run outdoors, we are furtunate to have a lot of wide open space in our area to use. Hagerstown City Park, the C&O Canal, and Cunningham State Park are the first places that come to mind. During cold weather, however, you might want to befriend that teadmill.

If you want to get outside, get in great shape, and make some new friends, seek out a local fitness boot camp. These boot camps usually last 6 to 10 weeks and are a fun way to get started in a structured and progressive outdoor running and calisthenics fitness program. In Hagerstown, the YMCA and Gold's Gym offer boot camps. Call these facilities to ask when their next sessions begin.

Train smart, and live well.

Chad Smith has worked as a fitness expert in the Tri-State area and is the author of "How To Get Maximum Weight Loss & Fitness Results In Minimum Time." E-mail letters to Chad at lifestyle@herald-mail.com and put "Dear Fitness Answer Man" in the subject line.

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