Important note—check with your physician before starting any exercise program. This workout is designed for those already in good health without serious or pressing medical conditions.
Warm-up (3-5 minutes): March in place, jog at a steady pace or do jumping jacks.
For an extra challenge: elbow to knee raise—start by raising your hands over your head, bring your left elbow down as your right knee raises up to meet it, do the same on the other side, repeating for a total of 10 sets on each side.
Push-ups: Standard push-ups in the plank position or on your knees—try for 10-15.
For an extra challenge: narrow the span of your arms so that your hands are close to your shoulders when in the down position; this targets your triceps more.
Chair dips: Using a heavy, sturdy arm chair, start with your feet hip-width apart and bend down like you would be sitting in the chair except you’re in front of it, rest your palms on the seat portion of the chair with your fingers pointing toward your body, lower your bottom toward the floor and push yourself back up using your arms; do up to 10 reps.
For an extra challenge: do another set but this time kick one leg out at a time as you lower down; do 5 on each side.
Bicep curls: Find something to give yourself resistance such as free weights or heavy soup cans if you don’t have them already. Do a standard bicep curl, 12-15 on each side with your arms out in front of you; do a second set with your elbow glued to your waist and your arms out to the side.
For an extra challenge: go back to the original position of arms in front on your body, step forward with the same leg as the arm you are working and kneel down being careful not to let your knee extend over your toes, as you rise up out of the lunge curl your bicep; do 10 very slowly on each side.
Squat: Start with your legs hip-width apart, hands clasped in front of you and abs pulling in, bend your knees and lower your bottom as if you were sitting in an imaginary chair, when you rise back up extend your arms straight out in front of you; do 10-12 reps, but on the last one hold in the down position for a count of 10.
For an extra challenge: squat as above but with your arms by your sides, as you rise up kick one leg out to the side with your foot flexed and lift that arm, squat back down and repeat with the other leg, do 5-6 on each side.
Plié: Stand with your legs a little more than shoulder-width apart, toes pointed out to the side, for extra arm work, hold them out to the side; lower your seat toward the floor stopping at knee level; make sure your knees do not extend over the toes, return to starting position; work up to 12-15 reps.
For an extra challenge: repeat as above but this time raised up on your toes; for the last rep, do 5-6 extra pulses half-way up starting from the down position so you are using half the range of motion.
Fire hydrants (with extension): Start down on the floor on your hands and knees, keeping your right leg bent lift your knee to the side until is it at the same level as your hip, extend your foot forward (so that your leg is still in the lifted position) but straight out to the side, bend the knee back in and return to the starting position; do 10-12 on the right—then repeat on the left.
For an extra challenge: use the same starting position, keeping your legs behind you with the knees bent, lift one leg up so that the sole of your foot is facing the ceiling, while in this raised position straighten your leg then bend the knee back in; do 10-12 on each side.
Calf raises: Stand with your feet hip–width apart, arms out to the side for balance if you need it; rise up on your toes, count slowly 2 counts and lower; do 10 reps with your toes straight ahead, 10 with your toes pointed out to the side and 10 with your toes pointed in toward each other.
For an extra challenge: end with a few balance building moves—start in the position with your heels together and toes apart, rise up on your toes—look to the left—look to the right—look straight ahead, then lower down; repeat but start the second set looking to the right first; do 2 more sets.
YOU’RE ALMOST DONE….JUST A FEW MORE….HANG IN THERE!
Plank: Start in the straight leg push-up position, either supporting yourself with your hands under your shoulders or on both forearms with your elbows directly under your shoulders, now hold for a slow count of 30; rest your knees down and repeat—this time try for 5 more seconds, give it one more try attempting to hold up to 40 or 45 seconds.
For an extra challenge: using the straight leg/straight arm starting position twist your body toward your left (lifting your right side toward the ceiling) and reach your right arm up; lower the right arm back to the floor and repeat on the other side, working up to 5-6 reps on each side.
Toe touch abs: Lie on your back and bring your knees into your chest in a table-top position, hands clasped behind your head, raise your head neck and shoulders up off the floor, keeping your knees bent—slowly (with control) lower the right foot toward the floor so your toes almost touch the floor, bring it back to table-top and repeat with the left leg; aim for a total of 20 or more reps.
For an extra challenge: repeat as above but add a twist of the upper torso so that your elbow is twisting toward the leg that is still in table top—similar to a bicycle exercise but a little bit harder.
Superman: Start down on the floor on your hands and knees, hands supporting you directly under your shoulders, knees under your hips; reach your left hand straight out in front of you as you reach your right leg straight out behind you; return to the starting position and repeat on the opposite side; do a minimum of 4 sets.
For an extra challenge: lie flat on the floor on your stomach, do the same reaching sequence as above but be sure to hold your abs in and up, do 3 sets slowly, then 5-10 sets quickly pretending you are in the swimming pool. Now you’re ready for the real swimming pool!
YOU DID IT! Congratulations on keeping your body active as your mind relaxes. Enjoy your new state of body and mind!
By Marla Altberg—Have Fun with Fitness, New York, NY. CREDENTIALS: Certified Personal Trainer, Senior Strength, Conditioning & Flexibility, Power Pilates Mat, YogaFit Level One. Email: [email protected].
HERE’S A PRINTABLE VERSION OF MARLA’S WORKOUT TO USE AT THE GYM OR IN YOUR HOME FITNESS AREA: