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Try Lisa's Workout
1. Body-Weight Squats
Stand about a foot in front of a chair with your feet shoulder-width apart. Bend your knees until your butt taps the seat, then stand.
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2. Lying Chest Flies
Holding light dumbbells (about 5 pounds) in each hand, lie on the ground with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Raise your arms (slightly bent) so the weights are high above your chest. Slowly lower the dumbbells out to the sides so they're in line with your shoulders but not resting on the floor. Then gradually raise them back to starting position.
Tip: Don't have dumbbells? Large, unopened soup cans work just as well.
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3. Stationary Lunges
Take a large step forward with your right foot and, keeping your head up and shoulders back, lower your body until your right knee bends 90 degrees (be sure your knee stays directly above your ankle). Push off your right foot and bring it back to your left. After finishing the first set of reps on that side, switch legs.
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4. Bent-Over Rows
Stand holding a light dumbbell in each hand. Bend at the waist, keeping your back flat and eyes forward. Raise your elbows toward the ceiling until the weights line up with your chest. Lower arms and repeat.
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5. Seated Crunches
Sit on the ground with your hands on the floor behind your butt, fingers facing forward, and your knees bent 90 degrees. Lift your feet off the floor and bring your knees to your chest. Return your feet to the floor; repeat.
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Step your right foot to the side so your feet are shoulder-width apart. Bend your knees until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Stand up, then bring your left foot to your right. Repeat. After finishing all your reps, switch legs.
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With your arms shoulder-width apart, lean onto your kitchen counter or a similarly high surface while keeping your belly sucked in and back flat. Bend your arms until your chest touches the counter, then push up. When you work up to 15 reps, move your hands to a lower surface like a chair or bench. Then move to the floor.
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Sit on a sturdy chair or bench with your hands gripping the seat, next to your sides. Slide off the bench, knees bent, so you're supporting yourself with your arms. Bend your arms to 90 degrees, then push back up.
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Hold a heavy dumbbell (about 10 pounds) in your left hand, arm straight. Bend at the waist and rest your right hand on the seat of a chair. Raise your left elbow toward the ceiling until the dumbbell lines up with your chest. Complete the first set of reps, then switch arms.
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Fit for Life
Robert Reames has whipped hundreds of fitness beginners into shape during his two-decade career as a strength and conditioning coach. He shares the secrets to his clients' success with FC readers.
Have fun. You're more likely to stay committed to exercise if you enjoy it. Try a beginner-friendly fitness class like yoga, indoor cycling, or group strength. If you'd rather not join a gym, you could also spend at least 30 minutes a day being active in other ways, such as walking briskly, riding your bike, gardening, or even running after your kids.
Ask for help. If you're new to the gym, or unsure of how to structure a workout, set up one session with a personal trainer. The trainer will give you a plan and teach you how to navigate the equipment on your own.
Just show up. It's a myth that you have to spend hours working out to get results. You benefit more from a short sweat session than none at all.
Think of your kids. Exercise is like health insurance—spend the time working out now to avoid being sick later. Plus, if you are active, you'll have more energy to do things with your children. Your kids will follow your lead and develop healthy habits early.
Stick with it. If you started exercising with a goal in mind, like weight loss or improved blood pressure, don't stop once you've achieved it. Instead, aim for something new, like walking your first 5k.
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Fitness on the Go
Getting fit as a family, says Reames, doesn't mean you have to set aside regimented exercise time. "Just make physical activity a part of your everyday life, no matter where you are," he says. Here are some family-friendly ideas, with the number of calories you'd burn in an hour (based on a 150-pound person).
Originally published in the April 17, 2011 issue of Family Circle magazine.
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