No Excuses Winter Cardio Jump Rope Workout

My last post discussed the best way to stay motivated to do training runs indoors on a treadmill this winter.

If you don’t have access to a treadmill, an inexpensive, portable jump rope that can be used almost anywhere might be the answer. Jumping rope is an excellent way to burn calories quickly, and it will help you increase – or maintain – your cardiovascular fitness when the weather doesn’t permit outdoor activities like running and biking.

Jump rope

Here’s the low down on the benefits from a jump rope workout:

You don’t have to spend an hour jumping a rope to reap the rewards. A 15 to 20 minute workout will burn off the calories found in a candy bar (not that we’re eating those) according to Web MD.

Jumping utilizes a number of different muscle groups, strengthening both the upper and lower body.

While there is some impact on the knees and hips, it is less stressful to the body than jogging.

You can do a quick jump rope workout almost anywhere. You do not need  gym membership or access to expensive fitness equipment to workout this winter.

Jump roping is second to none for building strong bones.

Jump rope workouts will improve your agility and hand-to-eye coordination and well as your balance.

Think Jumping Rope is Boring?

A jump rope workout doesn’t have to be boring. There are plenty of ways to add variety to this type of workout. As always, you can count on YouTube to provide a different jump rope workout for each day of the week.

A good one to start with is this 10 Minute Jump Rope Workout from Popsugar. Don’t worry if you mess up. You probably haven’t jumped rope for some time and it’s like everything else. It just takes a little practice to get back in the swing of it.

Purchasing The Best Jump Rope

When you go to purchase a jump rope make sure you get one that is the proper length for you. To determine the perfect length, stand on the center of the cord. The handle tips should reach your armpits. When you rotate the rope for the jump, the rope should brush the floor under your feet. If it doesn’t, the rope is too short.

There are different styles of ropes; beaded, speed, freestyle and cord. If you are purchasing your rope from a sporting goods store you can ask an employee to help you select the best rope. Check out Jumprope.com for more information about how to choose a rope. They have ropes for sale at this site as well.

No Excuses This Winter!

A jump rope workout is the perfect way to stay fit this winter. Keeping your jump rope handy eliminates one more excuse for not getting in a good cardio workout several times a week.

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Run for Time Not Distance If You’re Training Indoors This Winter

It was 12 below zero this morning when I got up to run. Obviously, hitting the ice-covered streets and sidewalks isn’t an option. So I got bundled up and headed to the Y where I found plenty of empty treadmills.

treadmills

It’s only 12 below. Where is everybody?

I can get motivated to do some rather serious training runs in the spring when I have events coming up that I want to be semi-competitive at. At this time of year I’m on a maintenance running program. The goal is to not lose everything that I’ve gained over the last year.

Should You Run for Time or Distance?

The time vs. miles debate is one you should research and consider if you’re doing treadmill running. If you’ve been running outside for the past seven or eight months, getting on the treadmill and setting the same mileage-to-time goal that you were doing outside is not only impossible, it’s de-motivating!

Experts will tell you to set a time goal and not worry about the miles. At least for now.

That’s what I did today and the outcome was better than it would have been if I would have been working on a distance goal.

Time Flies

Once you get warmed up and into the workout the time will start to go faster. Remember, the second half of the run always feel better than the first half does.

Jason Karp, Ph.D. says that time is more important than miles, especially if you’re training for longer runs. You will begin to see progress in both your distance and the time it takes you to cover it when you learn to stress your body for a certain length of time. If you’re training for a run that you think will take you an hour and a half to complete, run for an hour and a half. When the day of the event comes your body will be prepared for that duration.

Time vs distance

Plus, if your goal is to successfully run for one hour, regardless of the miles covered, when your watch says you’ve been running for 60 minutes you’ll have a feeling of accomplishment.

If you set a goal to run six miles in one hour and it takes you an hour and four minutes, you’ll focus on the failure of not meeting the miles-to-time goal. Chances are you will have trouble motivating yourself to try again.

Time Vs. Distance

I believe that establishing time rather than distance goals is the secret to success for indoor winter training.

When you move back outside in the spring you can begin to incorporate realistic miles-to-time goals and add tempo runs and speed drills so you’ll be fully ready to kick butt at any event you sign up for.

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Just getting started on your running journey? We all started in the same place. Here’s my story as I went from running a 5K to a half marathon. My Running Success Story.

 

Resolve to Be Kinder in 2018

Kindness Never Goes Out of Style

We live in a super-sized, fast-paced world where it is sometimes hard to find the good in ourselves and in others.

With changes and improvements in technology moving at a break-neck pace things that were once cutting edge (dial-up modems, flip phones, pocket cameras) quickly become obsolete.

Remember the now obsolete VCR?

VCR

Out of style.

Thank goodness kindness never goes out of style. Kindness is something that is desperately needed all day in every corner of the world. At times it seems as if it has gone out of style, so it’s up to us to make sure we keep it relevant and trendy.

Kindness

Always in style.

 

Below is a slideshow I created for an opening to a wellness event that I offered to employees this fall. The topic was the healthy side effects of kindness. I hope you will enjoy, live it and share it!

Healthy Side Effects of Kindness

Research shows that kindness has a significant impact on your health in a positive way.

Random Acts of Kindness.org says that:

  • In 2010 the Harvard Business School surveyed people in 136 countries and found that those who are generous with charitable donations are the happiest overall.
  • People who volunteer tend to experience fewer aches and pains.
  • People 55 and older who volunteer for two or more organizations have an impressive 44% lower likelihood of dying early, and that’s after sifting out every other contributing factor, including physical health, exercise, gender, habits like smoking, marital status and many more.
  • According to research from Emory University, being kind to others triggers your brain’s pleasure and reward centers light up, as if you were the recipient of the good deed—not the giver. This phenomenon is called the “helper’s high.”
  • Kindness stimulates the production of serotonin – the feel-good chemical in your brain – that heals wounds, calms you down, and makes you happy!

Engaging in acts of kindness has also been shown to reduce pain, stress, anxiety and depression, and blood pressure!

Resolve to Spread Kindness in 2018

Make a resolution to spread kindness in 2018. It never goes out of style!

(This video uses royalty free pictures from Pixabay.com and royalty free music from Bensound.com)

Happy New Year!

Cheers!

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Apple Cider Vinegar for Weight Loss, LIIT (not HIIT) and a Crazy Short Circuit. It’s Friday I’m in Link Love

 

It’s Friday! My favorite day of the week and the day I love to share links to health and fitness information that you can use. This Friday we’ll talk about apple cider vinegar for weight loss, how your DNA can help you lose weight, a crazy,hard short circuit and a funny New Year’s meme.

It’s Friday, I’m In Link Love!

Link-Love2

 

Apple Cider Vinegar For Weight Loss: Truth or Myth?

What is the truth about apple cider vinegar and its effects on metabolism and weight loss? According to Dr. Mercola and other health experts, apple cider vinegar is a thermogenic substance that plays a key role in having a healthy metabolism. While it might not be a magic bullet for weight loss, studies do show that consuming apple cider vinegar improves cognitive function, promotes athletic recovery, supports gut health, and helps you sustain a healthy, normal metabolism.

Apple cider vinegar

Fermented apples may just be the secret sauce to weight loss.

If you want to give a daily dose of apple cider vinegar a try, figuring out a palatable way to consume it might be your biggest challenge. At Natural Living Ideas you can find Five Tasty Ways to Get Your Daily Dose of Apple Cider Vinegar. Dr. Mercola has an apple cider vinegar supplement for sale at his web site that might be even more appealing to you.  Check out all of the reasons you should be consuming apple cider vinegar every day and purchase the supplement here: Help Unlock Your Body’s Metabolism With Apple Cider Vinegar

Forget HIIT and Embrace LIIT (?) in 2018

Burpees, box jumps, and wind sprints are ingredients of a 20 minute High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) workout. HIIT has been a mainstay for workout junkies for a few years now and the results of high intensity workouts are undeniable. But not everyone wants to do, or is able to do, a HIIT workout several times a week. In 2018 HIIT may take a back seat to the latest fitness trend called Low Intensity Interval Training, or, as you guessed, it LIIT!

The good news is that a LIIT workout can burn the same number of calories as a HIIT workout does without the impact and stress to the joints. But, you’ll have to spend more time working out. A typical HIIT workout lasts about 20 minutes. If you do LIIT you’ll need to workout for at least 45 minutes to achieve the same calorie burn.

LIIT is trending in 2018 and Joey Atlas has dedicated an entire web site to the benefits of LIIT. To learn more about the ‘jaw-dropping results’ of LIIT check out Low-Intensity Interval Training Delivers Jaw-Dropping Results.

Use Your DNA To Lose Weight

A new weight loss app called EmbodyDNA by Lose It! uses your DNA which you provide via a saliva sample to deliver personalized weight loss recommendations to you. The goal of the app is to determine how well your body handles the food you’re eating and help you gain insight to which foods and drinks can help keep you on track. You can learn more and purchase the app for $49.99 here: EmbodyDNA Lose it!

EmbodyDNA-screen-shots-1

Short Circuits With Marsha

Personal Trainer and Nutrition Coach Marsha Hughes bring you free, high-quality short workout circuits that are designed to burn fat and encourage weight loss. Marsha typically posts one or two new workouts a week. I’ve don’t most – not all – of the short circuits. My favorite is the 12 Minute Dumbbell Ladder Strength Circuit featured below. This circuit is crazy hard. Your legs will be crying when you get done with this workout.

Check out all of Marsha’s short circuits here: Short Circuits With Marsha

Happy New Year to Everyone.

I hope you make SMART, realistic, doable resolutions this year. Possibly something like this?

 

Resolutions

Stay safe out there!

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Food Coma Recovery and Detox

The weather girl predicts the temperature here today will not get above 4 degrees and tomorrow won’t be much better.

Add to that, it’s the day after Christmas and we all feel a little funky. The tummy and head are a little wonky from over indulging in foods we don’t typically eat and an abundance of alcohol. I don’t like having ‘off’ days where my energy is low and I’m entertaining the thought of spending the day on the couch.

Benefits of Warm Lemon Water

The solution? A cup of warm lemon water first thing in the morning. The vitamins and minerals in the lemons will get your digestion back on track, give you an energy boost, and improve your mood.

Lemon Water

Dr. Axe says lemon juice has a similar structure to the digestive juices found in the stomach and plays a role in helping the liver create bile. The bile keeps the food moving through the system which helps  relieve indigestion or an upset stomach. Keeping a cup of warm lemon water handy to sip on throughout the day is Step One on the road to food coma recovery.

Plus warm lemon water is soothing and easier to get down on a 4 degree morning than ice water is.

Cheers!

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5 Healthy Ways to Embrace Fall

The air is cooler. And dryer. The grass doesn’t need to be cut twice a week, and there is pumpkin spice something or other everywhere.

I think that every season brings forth a sense of renewal. At each season’s change we are motivated to wipe the slate clean, forget the mistakes of the past and move forward to reach our goals.

Fall leaves

Fall is no different. In some ways fall is the absolute best time to reset those healthy goals. The weather is cooler, most of us get a little more sleep (it’s dark by 7 p.m.), and there’s a sense that our time has value.

In Illinois the only option is to embrace fall. Let’s do it in the healthiest way possible. Try some – or all – of these healthy fall ideas.

Turn in Early. Sleep is important to our health. A number of chronic conditions, including diabetes, heart disease, and obesity are linked to sleep deprivation. Current research even suggests that people that toss and turn at night are at a higher risk of Alzheimer’s later in life.If you are sleeping less than seven or eight hours a night you may need to improve your sleep hygiene. You can find sleep hygiene tips here.

If you wake up throughout the night and feel short or breath and/or anxious you may have sleep apnea, a condition that is detrimental to your overall health. Talk to you physician about the symptoms and health risks related to sleep apnea. You doctor can provide a diagnosis and guidance to help treat this serious health condition.

Start Moving More – It is no longer 90 degrees outside. The heat are humidity are not an excuse to stay inside in the AC on your lunch hour or in the evenings after dinner. Take advantage of the cooler weather and make more time for physical activity. Find time each day to take a 10 to 15 minute walk before or after work, or on a break or lunch hour. Remember, you don’t have to spend an hour in the gym to feel and look better. Short bursts of exercise contribute to your overall health and can help you avoid putting on unwanted pounds this fall and winter.

Make Pumpkin Healthy Again – Between Starbucks and the donut shops, pumpkin has gotten a bad rap. Today’s pumpkin products are loaded with fat and sugar and should be avoided. Did you know that a Pumpkin Spice Latte at Starbucks can have more than 400 calories and 10 teaspoons of sugar!

 

pumpkins-457716__340
Pumpkin, without the cream, sugar, and crust is a healthy food and is loaded with fiber, potassium, and vitamin C but, for some reason we’ve turned pumpkin into a once a year calorie-laden treat.This fall you can experience the awesomeness of pumpkin without the calories. Check out the 19 Health Pumpkin Recipes from Allrecipes.com here.

Cook Most (if not all) of Your Meals at Home – Cooking meals at home is the best thing you can do for your waistline and your health. People that eat out several times a week consume 150 more calories a day than people that cook and eat meals they make in their own kitchen. Those calories can add up to a weight gain of several pounds a year. You do not have to be a gourmet cook to take pleasure in making meals at home.With a little organization that includes a shopping list and a commitment to spend a few minutes each day in the kitchen, you can make healthy, lower calorie meals that you and your family will enjoy.

(Cooking is a great way to teach children about the benefits of eating a healthy diet. Let them participate in the meal planning and preparation. Even children as young as 5 years of age can help prep a meal or mix up a fresh garden salad.)

Casserole

Stay Hydrated – Since it is cooler outside you may not realize that you’re thirsty and that your body still needs to be fully hydrated to function at 100% capacity. If you’re bored with plain water you can make your own smart water by adding fruit, vegetables and herbs. My daughter – who knows me all too well – gave me a water bottle with an infuser for my birthday. The water of the day is cucumber-lime. I re-fill the bottle throughout the day and let the cucumbers and lime slices seep into the mix. It’s a great way to hydrate with flavor but without added sugar or other additives.

Infused water
The end of summer is upon us and it is a time for rejuvenation. I wish you all a healthy, happy fall.

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Chia Seeds Provide Sports Nutrition Minus the Sugar and Calories

The popularity of sports drinks and performance gels has exploded over the last 10 years but most nutritionists would agree they aren’t that good for you. A simple drink that combines water, chia seeds and a twist of citrus is healthier and will help you keep that competitive edge.

Nutritional Value of Chia Seeds

Chia seeds made a comeback about five years ago. Before that, most of us either hadn’t heard of them or didn’t understand the nutritional benefits that adding them to your diet can bring.

Chia seeds

Chia Seeds Have Superfood Properties

Chia seeds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids and are very high in antioxidants. Unlike other seeds – flax for example – they can be added to water, soups, salads, and homemade bread right out of the package. Flax seeds, while good for you, do not have any real nutritional benefits whole and must be ground before they can be consumed.

Chia seeds are a powerhouse of nutrients. One ounce (about 2 tablespoons) has 139 calories, 4 grams of protein, 9 grams of fat, 12 grams of carbohydrates and 11 grams of fiber. Chia seeds also contain essential nutrients including manganese, phosphorus, calcium, zinc, copper and potassium. As a bonus they contain essential fatty acids alpha-linoleic and linoleic acid, and vitamins A, B, E and D.

Adding chia seeds to your diet for the nutritional value they provide alone is reason enough. But some research shows they can increase your energy level and metabolism which can lead to improved athletic performance. Add them to the water you drink during your workout and you won’t need a sports drink like Gatorade that’s loaded with sugar and other additives or G2 that has questionable artificial sweeteners.

Replace Sugary Beverages with Chia Seeds to Maintain Your Edge and Lose Weight

Most of us look to sports drinks to help us get through athletic endurance trainings and events. If we are doing a 50 mile bike ride or a 13 mile run on a hot day, we need something beyond water to keep us moving. You can safely replace the sugary carb-loaded beverage with a tablespoon of chia seeds in water with a splash of lemon or lime which will save you calories and provide the needed energy.

A study cited in the National Institute for Health created two control groups that consisted of athletic males. They had both groups perform a one hour run on a treadmill at approximately 65% of their VO2max followed by a 10k time trial on a track. One group consumed 100% of their calories from Gatorade. The second group consumed 50% of their calories from Gatorade and 50% from chia seeds. The group that consumed the 50% Gatorade, 50% Chia seed drink performed just as well as the 100% Gatorade group, which shows the athletes could decrease their dietary intake of sugar by using the chia seed replacement drink.

Chia in water

Chia Water = A Healthier Option

While the study doesn’t go so far as to prove that chia seeds alone will lead to athletic performance, the good news is that often times we consume more calories in the form of beverages and other carb aids when we work out or compete in events. Unlike chia seeds, those calories comes from sugar that has no nutritional value and leads to inconsistent ebbs and flows in our energy level. Over time, consuming sugary sports drinks can sabotage our weight loss goals and leave us wondering why we’re working so hard but the stubborn belly fat doesn’t budge.

Plus, the high fiber content of the chia seeds (one ounce has 10 grams) will fill you up so you’re not starving when you’re done!

View Wisely: The Great American Solar Eclipse on Monday

Please friends, do not risk your eye sight for a glimpse of the Great American Solar Eclipse on Monday, August 21.

On this day it is predicted that millions of people will gaze at the sun to view the eclipse. Some may risk their eye sight to do so. Even during a solar eclipse the sun’s rays are so bright that they can burn your eyeballs. It may looks dark outside – certainly darker than it does on a typical day – but the damage that comes from looking directly at the sun is still there.

Eclipse

How To View the Eclipse Without the Risk

There is an excellent article at Space.com that discusses the risks of viewing the solar eclipse and also provides ideas for ways to participate safely.

The graphic below is from the Space.com article. It shows how you can make a pinhole projector if you don’t have reliable solar eclipse glasses. I remember making this projector as a child and it worked quite well.

Pinhole Projector

I ordered glasses from Amazon.com but am now hearing that many of the glasses are being recalled because they do not provide sufficient protection. Some retailers argue that their glasses are being recalled unfairly and that the recall will make everyone question the quality of the glasses they’ve purchased.

Optometrists believe the safest way to view the eclipse is on T.V. Below is a letter from an optometrists that has been shared a number of times on Facebook. I think it’s worth sharing here:

As an Optometrist , I want to express concern that I have about the solar eclipse on Monday, Aug 21. There are serious risks associated with viewing a solar eclipse directly, even with the use of solar filter glasses. Everyone should keep in mind if they or their children are considering this.

We have to keep in mind that some people will encounter the inability to control every aspect of this exercise. For instance, true solar eclipse glasses are made for adults, do not fit children well and should not be used without direct parental supervision. If the solar glasses do not filter out 100% of the harmful UV rays, if they are not used absolutely perfectly, or should there be a manufacturing defect in any of them, this will result in permanent and irreversible vision loss for any eye exposed.

Just like sunburn to the skin, the effects are not felt or noticed immediately. I have a great fear that I will have patients in my office on Tuesday, Aug 22 who woke up with hazy, blurry vision that I cannot fix. It is a huge risk to watch the eclipse even with the use of solar glasses. There is no absolutely safe way to do so other than on TV.

The biggest danger with children is ensuring proper use without direct parental supervision. As the eclipse passes over many places, including Columbus, the moon will not block 100% of the sun. Because so much of its light is blocked by the moon, if one looks at it without full protection, it does not cause pain as looking at the sun does on a regular day. Normally if you try to look at the sun, it physically hurts and you can’t see anything.

During an eclipse, however, it is easier to stare for a bit….and even less than 30 seconds of exposure to a partially eclipsed sun, you can burn a blind spot right to your most precious central vision. With solar glasses you can’t see ANYTHING except the crescent of light of the sun. Kids could have a tendency to want to peak around the filter to see what is actually going on up there. One failure, just one, where education and supervision fail, will have such a devastating consequence.

Please, please be safe. Watch it on television.

PS Feel free to share this post.

Michael Schecter

Have a healthy day.

Thanks for sharing!

Motivation from Mel Robbins, More Good Coffee News, the 8 Hour Diet: It’s Friday. I’m in Link Love

Link-Love2

Ah . . . . Friday. Here you are once again. The funny thing about Friday is the love/hate relationship that I have with it. Of course I’m looking forward to the weekend. But, the end of another work weeks means that five more days of my life have slipped away. Have I made the best of them?

Sometimes the answer is yes, sometimes no.

One way to bring meaning to a week that has been less than overwhelmingly interesting in any way is to share tips via links about health and wellness news that I’ve found to be fascinating this week. I hope you enjoy and will share.

 – Not can you, but do you have the will to [change]?
–  The 8 Hour Diet is still a thing
–  Burn20 will inspire you to move more, and . . . .
–  There is now proof (almost) that coffee and a nap are the perfect combo.

It’s Friday. I’m in [Link] Love!

Mel Robbins on Why Motivation is Garbage –Mel Robbins, creator of the 5 Second Rule,  is a motivational speaker with one of the of the top 20 Tedx talks in the world. In this interview with Tom Bilyeu, she talks about how she changed her life with one simple strategy that came to her during a low point.  In this compelling interview she talks about how the habit of hesitation sabotages our success and what to do about it. The interview is worth a watch and just may motivate you to make some changes in your life. For an additional motivational burst, check out her short inspirational video This is Where Your Dreams Live below.

 

 

The Complete Guide to Intermittent Fasting – For several years I have practiced the 8 Hour Diet, intermittently at least, and can confirm that it has significant benefits. The 8 Hour Diet is believed to help you lose weight (without counting calories or starving yourself) and reduce the risk of chronic conditions including cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s Disease.  The diet works because for 16 hours a day you are not consuming any calories. During this 16-hour period, the body is able to rest, repair and burn calories.

The book, The 8 Hour Diet by David Zinczenko and Peter Moore was a New York Times bestseller and brought the concept of intermittent fasting mainstream. For the most in depth look at the diet, the book can be purchased at Amazon.com. To learn more before buying the book, check out Stylecraze’s The 8 Hour Diet – Complete Guide.

 

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Burn20 – Ingrid Macher’s Facebook page Burn 20 features short workout  videos – usually three exercises in each one – almost daily. Having these in your Facebook newsfeed is motivating and provides some great ideas for exercises that target a variety of muscle groups that can be done in a short amount of time.  Ingrid also has a free 5-day meal plan that you can download.  You can access the videos here – Burn 20 Videos, and the entire Facebook site here, Burn 20. Give her a ‘like’ on FB and start getting the videos today!

Burn 20

 

Coffee + Nap = Perfect Combination – I read some time ago that drinking a cup of coffee before taking a short nap would help you wake up more recharged than either option on its own. Researchers continue to study the benefits of the “coffee nap” and deem it to be the perfect combo. Why does it work you ask? “Both sleeping and caffeine block the brain’s receptors of adenosine, which is the chemical that causes drowsiness. While a nap on its own can leave a person feeling refreshed, the introduction of coffee beforehand can make for an even more effective energy boost.” Click here to learn more.

Cup of Coffee

I’ll have more next Friday.

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A Fifteen Minute Workout That Will Take Your Fitness to the Next Level

Getting and staying fit is a challenge for everyone. People that struggle with finding time to exercise may think that adhering to a lifestyle that includes a daily fitness routine is easier for others than it is for them. I don’t think that’s always the case but some people certainly have a way of making it look easy.

Are you struggling to find time in your day to work out? Or maybe you’re doing just enough two or three times a week to get by, but you envy people that look stronger and more fit than you do. If so, here are five basic exercises to start doing every day. These time tested moves burn fat, build muscle, and will give you a more defined look.

 1.  100 Squats A Day (can include split squats or lunges) – The squat works all of the muscles in the lower body. Doing squats everyday will increase lower body strength by helping you gain or maintain muscle mass. Doing 100 squats a day will give your bottom more shape and definition and increase your overall lower body strength. To give this exercise variety and challenge add weighted dumbbells or jumps.

Squats 2

Flickr Photo by Max Fitness

A good variation of the basic squat is a split squat. In this move, step one leg in front of the other. The back leg does the work as you drive the knee down towards the floor and back up. For this variation, try completing 50 reps on each leg.

Split squat

Flickr Photo by Max Fitnexx

 

2.  50 Push Ups A Day – The push up does for the upper body what the squat
does for the lower. It works all of the muscles in your upper half, increasing strength and creating definition in the chest, arms and back. There is no shame in doing push-ups from the knee position, just make sure you bend your elbows and get your chest down to the floor without your booty going up in the air. Have someone watch you or do a set in front of a mirror to make sure you’re using correct form.

Push up 2

Start the push up from a hand plank position.

Push up 1

Lower your body down to the floor, then push back up to starting position. Repeat.


3.  100 Crunches – yes, I said crunches – A Day
– I think the ‘no more crunches’ approach that we’ve moved to over the past five years is misguided. Ab crunches are easy to do, you can do them anywhere, and they are effective in toning the core. Start on your back with your hands behind your head and roll your shoulders up off of the floor. Lower back down so that head almost touches the floor and repeat.

Ab crunch 2

You can vary the crunches that you do each day to incorporate the obliques (side wall) of the abdominals more. In the same position, crunch up bringing the left shoulder towards the center. Lower back towards floor and repeat on the right.

Ab Crunch

Flickr photo by Oxyfit Gym


4. 25 Burpees A Day
Burpees are the ultimate functional fitness exercise. A burpee incorporates all of the major – and many of the minor – muscle groups in the body. Not only do they increase muscle endurance, they will get your heart rate up and boost your cardio fitness level which leads to better endurance for activities like running and biking.

The picture below shows the steps – from left to right – for completing a perfect burpee. If you are just getting started, try walking the legs out to position #2 (the second picture from the left in the series) and walking back in to complete position #5.

Burpee

Flickr photo by Jack Thompson


5. Plank for Three Minutes A Day
– The plank is now the most revered core exercise that strengthens your abs, back, and core. Research shows that planking supports proper posture and improves balance. There are so many ways to do a plank that you can try a different variation each day. Start out with a basic elbow plank . .  .Elbow Plank
then work up to a hand plank . . .

Hand Plank

Flickr photo by SAIT Polytechnic

and, finally to the side plank (which can be modified by going to an elbow position).

Side plank

For even more of a challenge, master the art of the reverse plank.

Reverse Plank

Start with 15 to 30 seconds in each plank position. Rest, then repeat until you’ve completed three minutes.

Give It A Chance.

You’ve read about the benefits of all of these exercises before. The question is have you not just tried them, but done them on a regular basis for a long enough time to matter?

For the next 30 days do these exercises every day (it will only take 15 minutes). You be the judge of whether or not you look better and feel stronger.

DO it Now

If you are not able to do the number of reps suggested, just focus on doing each move with the correct form. Keep track of how many you do and add a couple reps each day until you reach the goal. At the end of 30 days, move the goal up by adding weight or reps to the exercises.

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