As a busy mom, I always want to do more in less time: more walking, more lean-muscle building, and more calorie burning. That desire kicked into even higher gear after my second daughter was born. I loved my long walks and strength training routine, but never had time to do both.
So I came up with the idea of shaving a few minutes off my walks and using some of that time to strength train. The result? A quicker, more effective workout! The name of the game here is to condense your workout. So instead of a 30-minute walk, do a 20-minute walk, then spend five minutes doing strength training.
Why it works: Strength training not only helps improve your bone density and balance, but also does things walking isn't as good at, like building muscle efficiently. Muscle helps you look lean and burn more calories all day long, and it keeps your body young. Your muscle mass naturally decreases as you get older (sorry, folks, it's the truth), but strength training can help you build and maintain it at any age.
Combine all of that with a walk that keeps your cardiovascular system in shape, and you have an excellent total-body workout that gives you more benefits in less time. Even better, it doesn't require any special equipment! Surprised? Weight training doesn't mean lifting impossibly heavy objects and grunting. It simply means working against gravity to build valuable muscle tissue that does important things for your body and health.
Don't worry, it won't bulk you up either (unless you want it to, but that's a whole different regimen). This plan just strengthens and tones what's under your skin so you can move and live better. Who doesn't want that? After your 20-minute walk, spend the next five minutes doing these exercises.
Minute 1: Back Lunges Into Front Kick
Step back with your right foot and come into a lunge: left knee bent, thigh parallel to the ground, and knee stacked above ankle. Next, as you return to standing, kick forward with your right leg. Then step back into the lunge. Repeat for 25 seconds; switch legs. Rest for 10 seconds before going into minute 2.
Minute 2: Supine Finger-to-Toe Touches
Lie on your back with your arms out in a T; your feet should be a little more than shoulder-width apart. Raise your left leg and reach your right hand to touch your toes. Your right shoulder should come off the floor. Lower and repeat on the opposite side. Alternate for 45 seconds. Rest for 15 seconds before going into minute 3.
Minute 3: Squat to Calf Raise
Stand with your feet wider than hip-distance apart. Squat as if you're about to sit in a chair, then quickly stand up. As you stand, come onto your toes. Lower your heels to the floor, squat again, and repeat the sequence for 45 seconds. Rest for 15 seconds before going into minute 4.
Minute 4: Hip Bridge Hops
Sit on the ground with your knees bent, feet on the floor. Place your arms behind you, palms down, fingertips facing your body, and lift your butt off the ground. Squeeze your glutes and take a small hop with your feet. Repeat the hops for 45 seconds. Rest for 15 seconds before going into minute 5.
Minute 5: Plank Knee Touches
Start in a plank position, with your elbows on the ground and your body in a straight line. Tighten your core and bend your right knee so the kneecap barely touches the ground. Straighten your knee and repeat on the left. Alternate knees for 45 seconds. Well done!
This story originally appeared in the July/August 2018 issue of Woman's Day.
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