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Outdoor fitness: Kick and toss your way into shape

Linda Melone, CSCS, is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist and certified personal trainer based in Orange County, CA. Visit her website at www.LindaMelone.com.

Act like a kid to get fit

If you're like most people, you've had your fill of winter weather. It's finally time to trade in that boring treadmill workout for sunshine and fun. And what better way than with a game of kickball or Frisbee?

Woman with frisbee

Kicks aren't just for kids

If you think kicks are just for kids, consider this: the World Adult Kickball Association (WAKA) now boasts over 4,000 teams in nearly 40 states nationwide. Founded in 1998, WAKA adult kickball attracts people who like to have fun and socialize while exercising – and you may even meet someone special. At least one couple got married on home plate after meeting at a game.

Kickball is killer cardio

In addition, the game lends itself to a substantial aerobic workout. Short bursts of all-out effort burn calories -- lots of calories. Kickball's base-running and sprinting burns about 400 calories per 50-minute game. Combine that with a healthy diet and weight training and watch the pounds drop off.

Check out www.kickball.com for rules of the game.

Sprinting rules

WAKA makes the following recommendations for proper sprinting during the games:

  • Do not run on your toes. The toes offer no power or stability and do not enable you to run fast. Instead, stay on the balls of your feet and push against the ground.
  • Do not overstride. Placing your foot in front of your center of gravity will cause "braking forces" that slow you down.

Frisbee fitness

If kickball can't lure you out of the hammock, how about a game of Frisbee? Let's face it,  running around on a beach tossing a disc around is a lot more fun than sharing an exercise bench with some sweaty guy at the gym. In addition, all that running and jumping burns 200 to 300 calories an hour.

Frisbee tips

If you've never thrown a Frisbee before, try the following recommended steps, and you'll be a pro in no time:

  1. Curl your hand around the disc in the backhand grip: thumb on top, index finger following the curve of the rim, the other fingers fanned out on the underside, with the little finger pressed against the inside of the rim
  2. Hold the disc in front of you and swing the disc away from your body, smoothly uncurling your hand
  3. Release the disc with a snap of your wrist; to make the disc curve in flight, tilt it at the time of release and use less wrist snap.

If you seek a challenge beyond the basics, Ultimate Frisbee may be the ticket. This non-contact team sport takes the game to the nth level. Described as a combination of the best features of soccer, basketball and football, the game requires speed, stamina and agility. Yet the simplicity of the game makes it easy for newbies to learn.

Check out www.ultimatefrisbee.com for all the Ultimate game rules.

More outdoor fitness tips

Ditch the gym every day of the week
Fun fresh-air workouts for busy moms
Exercise at the park

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