Slim Down By Going Outside: Trim and Toned Thursdays With Cara

Want to be fit and fabulous like Ellen Pompeo and Halle Berry ? Get moving….

The first step to looking and feeling great this summer is to get moving. Exercise not only helps you lose weight, but also energizes your spirit and de-stresses your mind (now that’s what I call a triple threat!) Exercise has also been shown to improve self-image, combat anxiety, fight depression, and induce better sleep (do we really need any more reasons?)  So why spend time inside when you can be enjoying the beautiful temperatures and radiant sunshine!

Don’t like to run?  Try a few of my favorite summertime activities:

* Take a Walk

No expensive equipment or gym membership needed!  Try to fit 30 minutes or more of walking into your day. Location? You can walk around the neighborhood or go to your local high school (which may have an outdoor track).  Company? You can walk with friends, your dog, or simply put your iPod in and listen to some tunes.  Walking is a customizable exercise!

My mom and I take walks whenever we can.  They have become a part of our Sunday morning ritual (followed by grocery shopping and other errands).  It’s free and we can spend quality time talking about what’s on our minds. Recently, my seventeen year old brother has decided to join us.  Its wonderful to be outside, enjoying the fresh air, and spending time with the two people I love most.  So take your husband, sister, kids, or friends with you to pass the time and get your blood pumping (a 150 lb woman will burn around 112 calories in 30 minutes walking at a moderate pace).

Exercise can be a family affair (my mom and younger brother at the community pool)…

* Go Swimming

I have been swimming since I was 5 years old. My mom wanted me to learn how to swim because she never did and was always afraid of the water.  16 years later it is still one of my favorite ways to stay fit and relax my mind.

Swimming is a life long sport.  It is one of the best forms of exercise because it is a low impact activity and is gentler on your joints than running (or even walking). Moreover, swimming builds endurance, muscle strength, and cardiovascular fitness. New to swimming?  Start out with whatever feels comfortable for you.  Try to add an additional 2 laps every time you get in the water. (Plus, A 150 lb woman will burn around 230 calories in just 30 minutes!)

You may want to upgrade from Fisher Price first…

* Take a Bike Ride

Bicycling will surely bring you back to your childhood and remind you of the lazy days of summer. But bicycling does more than jog your memory- it strengthens your heart without the muscle and joint strain of running.  You can ride your bike to the office, to run errands, or simply to enjoy the beauty of nature (just put your kids in the back, and you’re good to go!) Even better, a 140 pound woman will burn around 250 calories in 30 minutes of moderate cycling.

Cara’s Craving of the Week: Pull Buoy

A small foam flotation device used to enhance swimming laps. It is placed between a swimmer’s legs and allows her to focus on arm movements.  It helps to build upper body strength and properly position the body in the water.  I usually use pull buoys to isolate my freestyle and break-stroke arms.  The pull buoy inhibits my kick so I am forced to utilize my arms and focus on my balance and technique.

The key to looking good is being healthy- inside and out.  So try to include some of these activities with a balanced diet in order to make healthy lifestyle changes. It all begins with one step….

– Cara

* Voice Your Opinion: What’s your favorite outdoor activity?

Want to get outside, feel fit or find new ways to tone your body? Cara Murphy will help you tap into your inner athlete,  no matter where you are at in your life. To submit your own questions, comments and suggestions, please contact Cara at

Credit: © People

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