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Exercise of any kind is a great way to get you on the path to being fit and healthy. However, for the greatest benefits, make sure you use a combination of aerobic exercises to get your heart rate up, weight bearing exercises to build strong muscles and bones, and weight training to target specific muscles. Following are five exercises you can do daily to target all three areas of your health and fitness:
1 – Squats
Squats are able to work your core, quads, hamstrings and calves all at once. A basic squat can be done if you place your feet shoulder width apart and hold your arms straight out in front of you with your palms facing down. Keep your eyes on a fixed point in front of you to help you keep your back straight and bend your knees into a squatting position and then return to a standing position. You can add some strength training to your squats by holding a weight in each hand.
2 – Push ups
Push ups will tone your chest and arms as well as strengthen your back and abs, giving you core strength and reducing your risk of back injuries. A typical push up is done by balancing on your palms with your arms shoulder width apart and your toes, keeping your back straight. You can intensify your push up by facing a wall or a counter and pushing off– the further away you place your feet from the wall or counter the more intense the push up will be. Or you can do a handstand facing a wall and push against the downward gravity on your body.
3 – Walking and running
There is no excuse to not work some walking or running into your daily routine. Walk to the shops or to work, walk to the next bus stop or just get some exercise with the dog. For the best walking or running workout for your heart, head up hill wherever you can.
4 – Pull ups
Upper body strength is required in many everyday tasks from moving a box to picking up your toddler and to avoid injuries as a result of these regular movements start learning to do a set of pull ups. You can start by standing and getting into the position of having just pulled yourself up. Hold that position for 30 seconds, or as long as you can. Then move on to actually pulling yourself up. Then hang from the bar and see how far you can pull yourself up. Start with sets of five and increase as you get stronger .
5 – Plank
Planking doesn’t have to be an extreme sport. It is an easy and safe exercise to incorporate into your daily routine and is a staple of Pilates and yoga as it works your abs, arms, legs and back for greater core strength. The plank is done by lying face down with your elbows resting on the floor next to your chest. Then move into a push up position resting on your hands or elbows and keeping your body straight, hold the position for 30 to 60 seconds.
Allan is a regular blog contributor. He has over 4 years experience writing online specialising in personal finance and private health insurance issues.