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For the biggest bang for your buck, pair the strength-training routine with a cardiovascular exercise that provides muscle-building resistance. Walking, jogging, or biking are your best bets, says Dr. Theodosakis, a Family Circle Health Advisory Board member. "Most important, it's got to be a routine you enjoy, so you will stick with it," he says. Aim to do cardio exercise for 30 minutes, four to five times a week.
At least twice a week set aside 20 minutes to increase your muscle tone. Here are four simple moves that work the larger muscles in the body (the bigger the muscles, the more energy they burn). You'll need two 5-pound weights and an exercise band.
Works quads, hamstrings, and butt muscles
Stand with feet farther than hip-width apart, legs bent slightly, toes turned out, hands holding the back of a chair for support. Pull abs in and keeping back straight, slowly bend knees to lower hips as far as possible without leaning forward or backward. Straighten up to starting position and repeat. Begin with two sets of 10-15 repetitions and progress to 25 reps. Once you can do that, hold the 5-pound weights while you squat.