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The sun is out, the air is warm, the sand is inviting, and the trees are glowing. Summer is here and so are the beaches or the trails I’m soon going to find myself at. While I plan my vacation, I usually consider exercising to get in shape prior to my vacation. For me, I like showing off the beach body I gained before my trip. When I walk down the beach now, the two people at the beach volleyball court will think twice before assuming I’m easy prey. I always like to work on my endurance before I go on  to ensure I can enjoy my excursion without being physically exhausted only half-way through.

Usually I like to relax for a month or so following the first half of the year. It’s also around this time that I start exercising outside and in the sun while getting a vibrant and even tan. I do this mainly because getting a tan helps to protect my skin from sun damage while I’m on the beach, and because I want to start getting in shape even before I know what I’m going to be doing for vacation. Exercising outside in the sun has the added benefit of allowing my body to produce large amounts of Vitamin D. Vitamin D helps the body fight off diseases, it plays an important role in warding off depression, and it helps boost weight loss. Exercising also increases the amount of oxygen and nutrients your body produces. This means that my concentration will be stronger, and my heart and lungs will be stronger as well. By exercising, I make sure I am in the best physical and mental shape I can be for when I go on vacation. Below I want to share two exercises I like to do in the sun - they give me a nice tan and build my triceps and chest all the while.  You should try them too!

Bench Dips
Sit on a bench and place your hands on either side of your hips. Slide forward, supporting yourself with your hands. Bend elbows, bringing upper arms almost parallel to ground, then return to starting position. Keep lower back close to the bench throughout the exercise. Complete 12 to 15 reps.

Elevated Push-Ups
Stand facing a park bench and place your hands on the seat; walk your feet out behind you until your legs are fully extended. Bend your arms and lower chest toward bench, then push up. Complete 12 reps. Turn around and place your hands on the ground and your feet on the bench (not shown); walk your hands forward until they're aligned under shoulders, legs extended. Lower chest toward ground, then push up. Complete 8 reps. Work up to 20 reps of each.

Ultimately, I end up thanking myself for having taken the time prior to my vacation to exercise and prepare myself. Regardless what I end up doing this summer, whether it’s hiking, swimming, paragliding, or just soaking up the sun on the beach, I know that exercising prior to my vacation will make all of these experiences more memorable and exhilarating.

Brandon Higgins

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