As summer approaches, it’s crunch time for those looking to get in shape

By Annamarie Wadiak

(Christina Yacono/Daily Collegian)
(Christina Yacono/Daily Collegian)

With warm weather rapidly approaching, it’s crunch time for those looking to get in shape. After a long and cold winter, it can be hard to get back into the swing of things with exercise but with these few, simple moves, you will be on the road to a healthier summer.

One exercise you can do to work your triceps and lower back is the half cobra push-up. For this, lay down flat on your stomach on the floor or your exercise mat. Bring your hands next to your chest and close to your body and make sure that your elbows are pointing straight back, not out to the side.

Then, push yourself up into a “half cobra;” your elbows should still be slightly bent but your chest should be off the ground. Lower yourself back to the ground and repeat this movement as many times as you can or play a song while doing it and try to make it through the entire thing.

A great abdominal exercise that also works your obliques, transverse abs and legs is the bicycle kick. To do this, lay flat on your back on the ground, raise your legs to a 90 degree level, put your hands behind your ears and lift your shoulders off the ground toward your knees.

Extend your right leg while raising and turning your right shoulder toward your bent left knee. Bring your right leg back to a 90 degree angle and your shoulder back to the middle and repeat this on the other side. You can do this move to a song, as well, or just do as many as you can.

One of the most popular body parts to get in shape for the summer is the side muscle, or the oblique muscle. To tone up your sides, you can do the Candlestick Dipper.

First, kneel with both knees on the ground, then extend one of your legs out to the side so that your foot is placed flat on the ground. Your knee should not be bent and your foot should be in line with the knee that is still kneeling.

Next, either fold or press your hands together and extend them up toward the sky. To get the exercise started, go from your vertical position and bend from the side of your bent knee until you are as low to the ground as you can without straining too much or falling over.

Try not to lean forward or backward when you do this, but rather extend out to the side in a straight manner so that you feel the stretch in your extending side. Do a few reps on each side. Fifteen or 20 each will be fine or just throw on a song and switch sides half way through.

Heel kicks work your hamstrings and your glutes at the same time. To do these, get on the ground on your hands and knees. Then, get down on your elbows, keeping them under your shoulders with your hands straight out.

Lengthen one of your legs, flexing your foot and pointing your toes toward the ground. Raise this leg as far as you can in the air and bring it back to the ground. Repeat this several times on both sides.

If you are not a person who enjoys toning or if you want to supplement toning, go for a run or a bike ride. Running from the Recreation Center to Amherst Central High School and back or running from the Rec Center to the Big Y and back can each be about a three-mile run or bike ride.

These last few weeks until summer break should not be a time of crash-dieting, excessive exercise or body image obsession. Getting fit for the summer should instead be a fun and healthy lifestyle choice.

Remember that good appearance starts from the inside out and in order to look your best, you first have to be confident and happy. Have fun with these moves; play some music, go outside, or ask your friends to join in. Enjoy your life – it is almost summer.

Annamarie Wadiak can be reached at [email protected]