It’s not quite swimsuit season, so now is the perfect time to whip your winter body into shape with these spring exercises:
On average, metabolism will stay elevated for several hours after a good workout. A 40-minute cardio workout in the morning that challenges different muscle groups (try 20 minutes on the treadmill, 20 minutes on the elliptical) and a 30-minute bike ride or jog in the late afternoon helps the body burn calories all day.
Time and/or money getting in the way of you joining a gym? There are a number of exercises you can do at home with no or limited equipment to get yourself beach ready. For these exercises, start with 10 or 20 repetitions and then increase as your conditioning allows.
1. Lunges: While standing upright, place your hands on your head for balance. Then, step backwards with one foot, going back as far as you can comfortably do so. Bring your first leg back to the starting position, then repeat with the other leg. As you gain strength and comfort with this move, work to step farther backwards.
2. Rows: Take a resistance band and wrap it around a sturdy place in the house (like a stair railing) so the handles are at elbow height. Standing tall and firm, pull your elbows back, tightening your back in the process.
3. Jumping jacks: This is the classic exercise we all learned in gym glass. From a standing position with your arms at your sides, swing your legs and arms out in a diagonal pattern, extending them away from your body as far as you can. Then, in quick succession, bring your limbs back to the starting position. That’s one rep.
4. Up-down planks: Start prone, face-down on the floor. Rise onto your feet and elbows in a traditional plank position. Holding your core and glutes strong, start moving from your elbows to your hands, like a pushup position. Hold the top plank for a few seconds and then return to your elbows.
5. Mountain climbers: Start in a pushup position with your hands spread wider than the width of your shoulders. Take your right leg, lifting it off the ground and pulling it toward your right elbow. Maintaining control, return your leg to the starting position then repeat on the left side.
6. Cobras: Lying face down with your arms relaxed next to your body, lift your head, upper chest and arms, squeezing the shoulder blades together. Hold this pose for several seconds before gently returning to the floor.