To get the results you want from a workout, holding your body in a proper position is just as important as the workout itself. Doing exercises correctly will help you:
- Burn fat
- Reduce stress
- Improve health
- Decrease your waist size
And you can do it all without bulking up to the size of a Miami condo.
No matter what moves you're doing, from a push-up to a lunge, try to follow these 10 form guidelines. (If possible, use a full-length mirror to check the position of your body.)
- Look out at eye level or above to spare your neck and keep you from rolling your shoulders forward.
- Keep your face relaxed and tension free.
- Relax your shoulders and lift up your chest.
- Pretend the top of your head is being pulled up by a string to elongate your spine and keep you from rolling forward.
- Count the reps for each exercise out loud; counting helps you remember to breathe continuously. (Many people hold their breath while doing strength training.)
- Keep your abs tight to support your lower back. (Practice sucking in every time you enter a car, bus, train, plane, elevator, escalator, everywhere -- that way, it becomes automatic.)
- Keep your knees slightly bent, so you don't lock them.
- Make sure you can (if you want to) always see your hands when doing shoulder exercises.
- Keep moving in between exercises to keep your heart rate up, or move directly to the next exercise. If you can't hold a conversation, you're exercising too hard. If you can talk a blue streak, you may not be going hard enough.
- As you get fitter, go longer rather than harder with cardio exercises, and stronger with weight exercises -- that is, do more repetitions. But it's more important to follow perfect form and do fewer reps than to do a lot of repetitions with form that's sloppier than spaghetti in a high chair.
Ready to begin? All right. Build your 20-minute workout today!
From YOU: The Owner's Manual, by RealAge experts Michael F. Roizen, MD, and Mehmet C. Oz, MD