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by Liz Bowen

Running, hiking cycling and a host of other outdoor sports may be among those that have dominated your summer up until now, but with less time ahead than in front of us to enjoy the summer days, why not try something new? Here’s the lowdown on just four outdoor workouts that can put a new spin on your late summer workout routines.

Kayak Spin

You see them as your jogging by or doing reps outside and think to yourself, “kayaking looks like it could be fun!” If you look a little closer, those kayakers are engaging in a workout routine called kayak spin. These kayaks are part of the latest breed that has pedals inside. Generically referred to as a recumbent drive because you are providing the power in a semi-recumbent position, each pedal is connected to an underwater fin, and just like a spin class on the water, you can tool around the lake or waterway getting a great workout.

You don’t need paddles as you have unbelievable control of speed and direction with these kayaks. Currently, there are just a handful of manufacturers with the Hobie Mirage Drive the innovator and presumed standard with similar recumbent pedal systems made by other kayak manufacturers as well. While they have been around for a few years, they are growing in popularity as a fantastic outdoor workout for people of all ages. They are also big with those that fish as you can cast and move with your hands being free.

Rowing (or sculling)

Using a rowing machine in the gym doesn’t even come close to the experience of being on the open water. Even if kayak spinning is a little high tech for you, rowing is as old school as it gets for a great upper body workout. When a single person is rowing on their own with two oars, it is called sculling, just to be accurate. Although there are single person sculling boats (the most popular) that you can rent on many of America’s waterways, there are also two and four person sculling boats available. It takes a little practice to get the knack, but once you do you will experience a pretty demanding outdoor workout that still provides better scenery and more solitude than in any gym.

Indo Board

While the indo board has long been a staple of the indoor workout routine, it is beginning to make its resurgence back where it started—outside on the beach. Invented by a surfer in 1975, these small oval-shaped boards task you to balance them on an inflatable cushion or roller. In addition to providing a fantastic core workout, they are wonderful for improving balance and coordination. The best part of making this part of your late summer outdoor workouts is that its fun, and if you fall on the grass or on the sand as you get the hang of it, you’re no worse for wear.

Rock Climbing

Indoor rock climbing walls are so passé! It’s far more fun to take advantage of this great workout in the outdoors. Most cities and communities have outdoor rock climbing spaces so it just takes a little online research or asking around at the gym. In anticipation of the possibility of climbing becoming a 2020 Olympic sport, see what all of the fuss is about as you work your arms, back, core, forearms and even your fingers.

In addition to the benefits of getting outside and enjoying the rest of summer, rock climbing is a great cardiovascular workout that increases muscle tone in all of your extremities as well as your chest and back. The beauty of all of these four outdoor workouts beyond being a break from your regular workouts is that they are highly affordable (if you rent rather than buy), and when the weather gets too cold, you can take them indoors and remember the scenery and sunshine from the summer until it rolls around again.

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