Health and Fitness – Branch Out and Use Trees in Your Workout

“What are you going to write about in your fitness column this week?” The question boomed from the backseat of my car as my friends and I made our way down the freeway. After hearing that I hadn’t settled on a topic, my friend pointed to a tree and sarcastically suggested that I adopt it as the focal point of my article.

And that’s how I was inspired to create an informative piece about people, trees and health.

For this suggested workout, you first need to find a tree. It should be one of the hardier and taller trees in the neighborhood to support the exercises you will do in this Swiss Family Robinson adventure.

To start with your cardiovascular workout, climb the tree to the highest and safest point and come back down. Repeat this a designated number of times, or assign a designated amount of time for your climbing. Whether you decide on five times to the summit and back or 15 minutes of continuous monkey business in your tree, you will feel the intensity of the workout.

Now that the blood is flowing, you are ready for some specific exercises. Let’s start with chin-ups. With your palms facing you, grab a sturdy branch and pull yourself upward until your chin is touching the branch. Let yourself drop back down so that your arms are once again fully extended. Do three sets of 10 of these, or as many as you can do, depending on the type of workout you want. You will feel the burn in your biceps.

Sit for a moment against your tree’s trunk and quaff some water. Pull-ups are the next order of business. Reacquaint yourself with your chin-up branch, and this time, make your palms face away from you. Reach your arms up to grab a hold of the tree. Pull yourself up until your head is in front of the branch. This is a pull-up, and it’s a great exercise for the lat muscles of the back.

You can even do your abdominal workout in your tree if you can find two branches close together. Sit on one branch and hook your feet under another nearby branch for stabilization. Then, carefully let your torso extend backward until you are upside down. From this point, pull yourself back into an upright position. You will most definitely feel the excitement of a good abdominal exercise from this.

There are so many other exercises that can come from this tree. There might need to be a sequel to this column. Go find your elm, birch, or oak and rekindle those childhood climbing experiences while building that better body today.
This wellness article is brought to you by that guy who never misses a trivia question involving the Nina, Pinta, and Santa Maria. That guy is Ron Blake and he can be spotted at Ron Blake.

Ron Blake

Ron Blake, a personal fitness trainer in Phoenix, has been training individuals and groups for 15 years. He has also coached high school cross-country and track teams in Indiana and California. He was born in Gary, Ind., and Indiana University awarded him bachelor and master's degrees (as long as he agreed to quietly leave the state!) Visit his website, for more information.

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