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20-minute Lower Body Workout20-minute Lower Body Workout

Source: MyFoodDiary.com

20-minute Lower Body Workout*

This quick workout combines strength moves with bursts of cardio to target the lower body. Perform each exercise in the circuit for the specified time, and repeat the circuit twice for a 20-minute workout. Warm up and cool down three to five minutes to complete your exercise session.

Around the World Lunges 60 seconds

Stand with feet hip-width apart and step forward with your right foot into a lunge*. Return to standing. Step the same foot to the right as you lower into a side lunge with your right knee bent, bottom pushed back, and left leg fully extended. Return to standing and move into a reverse lunge by stepping your right foot behind you and lowering the knee to the ground. Repeat on the left and continue to alternate sides for the length of the exercise.

Jump Squats 90 seconds

With the feet hip-width apart, sit back into a squat*. Push yourself up as you jump and propel into the air. Land in the starting position and repeat.

Step Ups 60 seconds

With a 5 to 10 pound dumbbell in each hand, stand in front of a stair or small step stool. Step up onto the stair with your right foot. Tap your left foot on the stair, return it back to the ground, and then return the right foot back to the ground. Continue to step with your right foot for 30 seconds and then repeat with the left foot.

High Knee Jog 90 seconds

Jog in place as you lean back slightly and lift your knees high in the air towards your chest.

Squats with a Side Leg Lift 60 seconds

Standing with the feet hip-width apart, sit back into a squat. As you return to standing, extend your right leg out to the side and lift your foot off the ground. Lift only to the point where you feel your hip muscles engage. Hold for one count and return to the starting position. Squat and repeat on the left side.

Front Kicks 90 seconds

Stand facing forward. Lift your right knee to waist level, extend your leg and kick your foot out in front of you. Lower the leg and repeat with the left side. Kick more quickly to increase the intensity.

Weighted Calf Raises 60 seconds

Stand on the floor with a 5 to 15 pound dumbbell in each hand. Raise up on your toes as you contract your calf muscles. Lower and repeat.

Side Jumps 90 seconds

Place a jump rope along the floor or choose a point on the ground to serve as line (such as a groove in the side walk). Jump quickly from side to side over the line, jumping high and moving as quickly as you can.

*When doing squats and lunges its important to practice safe form to protect your knees. Sit your bottom back as you squat and lower your body straight down when lunging to ensure that your knees do not push forward past your toes.

Walking for Weight LossWalking for Weight Loss

Source: MyFoodDiary.com

Walking for Weight Loss

Research shows that a walking program can result in successful weight loss. You can boost the calories burned and the likelihood that you will stick with your plan when you incorporate a few simple guidelines.

Put in the time.

According to the American College of Sports Medicine, 150 to 250 minutes per week of moderate-intensity exercise (walking) can result in modest weight loss, but more significant weight loss requires more than 250 minutes. This means that if you truly want to initiate changes in your weight you should commit to at least a 50 minute walk, five days per week. If you are a beginner, do what you can now and work up to this goal. If you put in the time, you will get the results.

Step up the intensity.

Boosting the intensity of your walk will help you burn more calories. Try speed intervals by walking quickly for 60 seconds and recovering at a slower pace for 30 seconds throughout the workout. Take an outdoor route with hills or stairs, or increase the incline on your treadmill. Break up your routine by hiking on the weekends. The hills, elevation, and rough terrain will challenge you to work harder.

Stay committed.

It takes time to build your fitness level and to burn the necessary calories for weight loss. With consistent exercise, your body will be able to push harder and longer to boost calorie burn. Going out for a leisurely walk once a week may provide health benefits, but it likely won’t be enough to initiate weight loss. Pick the number of days that you can commit to exercising and stick with it to see results.

Give it purpose.

Use your walk to run errands. A 25-minute brisk walk to and from the post office counts as a workout. Once you get to the mall, walk the halls for 30 minutes before you start shopping. Invite your co-worker to a walking meeting. One study showed that people who walked the dog for just 20 minutes, five days per week lost an average of 14 pounds in a year. When your workout helps you accomplish a task, it is much easier to squeeze it into your day.

Make it fun.

A walk doesn’t have to be a boring stroll from one point to the next. Mix things up by adding strength training circuits. Walk 10 minutes, stop and do 15 squats. Walk 10 more minutes, stop and do 20 calf raises.

Ask friends to join you or reserve your walk for special time with a loved one. The more enjoyable your exercise the more likely your workout will be something you want to do, not something you have to do.

10-Minute Ab Workout10-Minute Ab Workout

Source: MyFoodDiary.com

10-Minute Ab Workout

Bicycle

This fast paced workout will elevate your heart rate while strengthening your core. Do each exercise for 50 seconds. Then rest and transition to the next exercise in 10 seconds. Consider doing 2 to 3 circuits for a longer, more challenging workout.

Bicycle

Lie on your back on the floor. Lift your feet off the floor and pull your knees in towards your chest. Place your hands behind your head with your fingertips touching behind your ears. Rotate your right shoulder towards your left knee as you extend your right leg out, parallel to the floor. Rotate your torso and move your left shoulder towards your right knee as you extend the left leg out. Repeat, alternating shoulder to knee.

Combo Crunches

Lie on your back on the floor. Place your hands behind your head with your finger tips touching behind your ears. Lift your knees into the air so that your thighs and torso form a 90 degree angle. Crunch your upper body up, lifting your shoulders off the ground as you bring your knees towards your chest. Lower the upper body, return to a 90 degree angle, and repeat.

Plank

Get into a standard push-up position, on your toes with your hands on the floor directly under your shoulders. Lower down to your elbows. Hold the position with your body in a straight line from your shoulders to your heels. To make the move more difficult try lifting one foot off the floor.

Knee Tucks

From the push-up position, pull your right knee into your chest as you contract your abs. Hold for one count and return your leg to the starting position. Repeat on the other side. To increase the difficulty pick up the pace and move quickly, tucking one knee and then the other.

Toe Touches

Lie on your back on the floor with your arms and legs extended towards opposite ends of the room. Slowly raise your right arm as you raise your left leg into the air. Contract your abs as you touch your left toes with your right hand. Lower to the starting position and repeat on the other side.

Crisscross

Lie on your back and place your hands under your buttocks to help support your lower back. Raise both legs about six inches off the floor. Slowly cross your right foot over your left and then switch, crossing left foot over your right. Continue crisscrossing the feet as you contract your lower abs. To make this exercise easier raise your legs higher in the air to reduce the stress on your abs and lower back.

Alternating Arm and Leg Lifts

Position yourself on your hands and knees on the floor. Raise your right arm out in front of you, parallel with the floor. At the same time, extend your left leg out behind you, parallel to the floor. Lower to the starting position and repeat with your left arm and right leg.

Knee to Elbow

Stand with your arms raised overhead. Raise your left knee towards your chest as you bring your right elbow down to meet it, rotating your torso. Return to the starting position and repeat with the right knee and left elbow. To increase the intensity, speed up the movement and add a hop as you raise your knee.

Standing Side Crunches

Stand with your feet wider than your hips and lower into a plié squat position. Place your left fingertips behind your left ear. Extend your right arm down your right side. Lean to the right and reach your hand towards your right ankle. Return to start. Crunch on the right side for 25 seconds and then switch to the left side.

Walk Out Plank

Stand with your feet hips-width apart. Bend at the waist and place your hands on the floor. Keep your feet where they are and walk your hands out along the floor in front of you until your body is extended in a plank. Use your hands to walk yourself back to the starting position. Do your best to keep your legs straight as you walk your hands out to plank and back.

Tips for Returning to an Exercise ProgramTips for Returning to an Exercise Program

Source: MyFoodDiary.com

Returning to an Exercise Program

Whether your break from exercise has been one month or two years, it’s never too late to get back into it. Use these tips to help you return to an exercise program and make it a permanent part of your everyday life.

Determine your current fitness level.

If you haven’t been exercising for an extended period, you are not in the same shape you were the last time you stepped into the gym. Don’t pick up right where you left off. Begin with lower intensity exercises, shorter workout segments, or fewer workouts per week. If you breeze through the easier workout schedule, step it up and take on more challenging exercise. If you find the less intense regimen difficult, don’t get discouraged. Commit to your workouts and you’ll be back to where you left off in no time.

Get nagging problems checked out.

If an injury or annoying pain is what made you drop your program in the past, don’t expect those problems to magically disappear. Make an appointment with your doctor to get clearance for exercise and consider meeting with a trainer for guidance on the types of exercises that will help you avoid future pain.

Stay flexible.

Like other areas of life, exercise preferences change over time. Maybe you once loved the gym, but now the thought of stepping into one makes you cringe. Explore new options for your workouts. Use videos at home for strength training, add a morning yoga session, run outdoors, and use web-based tools like the MyFoodDiary forum to get the support and encouragement you need to stick with it.

Create a well-balanced plan.

Well-balanced exercise programs become increasingly important with age. As flexibility and muscle mass decrease and metabolism slows down, each component of an exercise program plays a critical role. Be sure to include both cardiovascular exercise that elevates your heart rate and regular strength training. Consider combining the two in a challenging circuit workout to save time. End your sessions with a full-body cool down stretch, or include yoga or Pilates in your plan to maintain balance and flexibility.

Set goals.

Don’t leave your fitness plan open-ended. Exercising regularly for the rest of your life is the ultimate goal, but without a goal to shoot for in the near future, you may lose interest. Even something as simple as completing 20 standard push-ups in a row within the next two months can be enough to keep you on track. Once you accomplish a goal, set a new one and your exercise program will always be motivated by a purpose.

New Ways to Assess Your ProgressNew Ways to Assess Your Progress

Source: MyFoodDiary.com

Assess Your Fitness Progress

Weight, body mass index (BMI), circumference measurements, and body fat percentage are all good ways to assess your fitness progress, but they don’t tell the whole story. When you adopt a healthy lifestyle, you change more than your physical appearance. Don’t forget to pay attention to these improvements when assessing your progress and celebrating your success.

Cravings

Cravings can be caused by a rise in cortisol from increased stress or inadequate sleep. Eating high carbohydrate foods that cause a spike and drop in blood sugar can also trigger cravings. As you adopt healthier practices, like exercising to reduce stress and eating healthier foods, your cravings will decrease. They may not disappear completely, but you will be able to control them and the amount you eat when you decide to treat yourself.

Hunger and Fullness

As you become a mindful eater, you will begin to recognize when you are truly hungry, which will help you to stop eating when you are full. After years of unhealthy dieting, it can be difficult to recognize true hunger and fullness again so consider this a big step to improving your health.

Energy Levels

Healthy foods are rich in fiber and protein that help stabilize your blood sugar and prevent the spikes and drops that can zap your energy. Adopting healthy habits will boost your energy levels throughout the day. Pay attention to changes in how you feel at different times. You will likely find that your afternoon slump no longer occurs and that you awake each morning ready to take on your day.

Sleep

Research shows that regular exercise promotes restful sleep as long as you complete your workout at least four hours before bedtime. Staying well hydrated, avoiding caffeine in the afternoon, and limiting alcohol intake can all improve your sleep patterns. Healthy foods can ease stress and anxiety further helping you to get the rest you need to feel your best. Consider keeping a sleep journal that tracks how quickly you fall asleep, how long you sleep, and how you feel when waking. Compare this to your food diary and exercise log to determine the positive changes you’ve made to improve sleep.

Moving with Ease

As you become fit, daily activities will become easier. Pay attention to your breathing when you climb a flight of stairs. Note improvements in joint pain during your workouts. As the weight comes off and you become stronger, your body will begin to move more easily. The aches and pains you once felt will lessen and often disappear.

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