STAYING FIT: Three best full body exercises
Several months ago, a survey of fitness experts and gym trainers across the nation found the three most effective exercises using your body. So, if you only had time for three exercises, which ones would give you a full body workout? The experts declared the best were: pushup, lunge, and plank. The pictures below give you a basic idea of what is involved.
If you are unsure about performing these exercises, then use the low option I describe. It’s better to start slowly if you are not used to exercise. Pay attention to proper form as it is vital for getting the most out of any exercise you do. Perform them in order as it gives a rest for your arms.
The pushup works your entire upper body and arms. On a flat floor, lay facing down, with your hands (fingers spread out) and shoulders in alignment, your legs supported on your toes. Press your body upward without locking your elbows, keeping a straight line all the way down your body, from neck to toes. Don’t bow your back. As you come back down (as far as you are able, but don’t let your body touch the ground), your elbows should bend outward. You will keep your gaze forward (don’t hang your neck down). A low option is to do this supported on your knees instead of your toes.
As you can see from the picture, the lunge is not really lunging forward, but dropping straight down, bending both legs at a 90-degree angle. Start with feet shoulder width apart and then step forward with one leg and drop down. Keep the front knee and ankle in a straight line up and down. Keep your upper body and head straight up as well—no leaning forward. If needed, lightly touch a chair or wall for balance. Your back knee does not touch the ground. Then rise back up. Do this with both legs. The lunge works all of your legs and rear end.
The plank strengthens your core for better posture and balance. It is similar to the pushup with lower body up on your toes, but upper body resting on your elbows. You have a straight line all the way down your body—don’t let your rear go up in the air, or your stomach bow down to the ground. You will feel it fairly quickly as your whole core tries to maintain proper form. A low option is on your knees instead of toes. Go for as long as you can. Thirty seconds is really good. One minute is great. If you can’t go that long, shoot for 10 seconds.
For sets and repetitions, you can start with three sets of 8-10 repetitions each, and 10 seconds on the plank at the end of each rotation. Or simply try to do as many of each as you can and see where you are. If you can only do three exercises, these three will work out your entire body effectively and efficiently.
Coming next month: Great resources about food and nutrition.
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