So you've finally made the decision, perhaps for the second or third time — no more spare tire, no more breathlessness after taking the stairs, no more dread at wearing shorts or short sleeves. You're ready to build a body that defies normal aging.
By reading this column, you've taken a monumental first step. Whether for improved health or tighter abs (or a little of both), try this do-anywhere, equipment-free exercise routine:
Warm Up (to your favorite music):
- Step touch: Move your feet side to side in a simple step-touch rhythm for one or two minutes to increase your blood flow and heart rate.
- Up and back: Take two steps forward and two steps backward for one minute.
- High-knee march: March in place for one minute, lifting alternate knees high in the air.
- Torso rotations: Stand in place with your feet about shoulder-width apart. With your arms lifted at about shoulder height, rotate right and left for one minute.
- Forward lunge: Begin by standing with your feet about a foot apart. Place your right leg forward and your left leg behind you with about three feet in between. Keep your hands at your sides.Bend your right knee until your front right thigh is parallel to the floor. Next, push with your feet in an upward motion to return to the standing position. Do 10 lunges with the right leg, followed by 10 with the left leg. Then do 20 alternating lunges.
- Low-row back squeeze: Stand with your feet about a foot apart. Lift your arms and bend your elbows so that your fingertips meet in front of you at about chest level and your forearms are parallel to the floor. Pull both your arms back, elbows by your sides, and squeeze your shoulder blades together. Repeat 30 times.
- Shoulder side raises: Stand and raise your arms out to the side, at about shoulder level. Lower your arms to your sides, then slowly return them to the starting position. Repeat 30 times.
- Chest squeeze: Stand with your feet about a foot apart.Lift your arms, keeping your elbows slightly bent, and bring your arms together in front of you, as if hugging a tree. Contract your chest muscles for one to two seconds. Be careful not to round your spine. Repeat 30 times.
- Biceps curl: Stand with your feet about a foot apart and your arms at your sides, palms up. Flex your arms at the elbow, keeping your elbows close to your waist, and pull them in an upward arc toward your shoulders. Contract your biceps at the peak of the exercise. Lower and repeat the movement 30 times. For extra strengthening, use light dumbbells or a resistance band.
Remember to cool down with some light marching in place and stretching!
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