Too busy to sculpt your bod? Try 3 quick, super-charged moves
Here are three easy moves you can do to keep fit no matter where you are.
Let's face it: You've got a busy schedule. Whether it's long days at work, taking care of the kids, keeping your life in order or all of the above, no one blames you if you don't have time to make it to the gym. But that doesn't mean you can't still squeeze in a fast (and effective!) workout every now and then. That's why I've come up with three moves you can do pretty much anywhere. Together, they make for an easy way to add a little fitness boost to your 2014.
You've heard of them, your parents have heard of them and they seem to be all the rage nowadays. What is a burpee? In essence, it's the flowing movement of an unweighted squat into a plank or pushup. You start with your feet shoulder width apart and your arms out in front of you, with your palms facing down toward the ground. Keeping your back straight, squat down. Then, shoot your feet behind you and land with your hands on the ground and your arms fully extended. Next, hop back forward into your squat and then return to your normal standing position. Rinse and repeat as many times as you see fit.
The burpee is a great total-body exercise, it quickly burns calories, and it helps stimulate many of your major muscle groups. Doing burpees might be tough when you start, but it only gets easier.
While these are technically two separate moves, you can do them in conjunction (with little or no equipment) to give your legs a great workout at home or anywhere! First, find an elevated, flat, stable object like a park bench or the base of a staircase, and stand facing toward it. Lunge forward with one leg while keeping the other leg fully extended behind you. Stop the lunging motion when your front leg reaches a 90-degree angle. Now, take your nonlunging leg and step up onto the elevated object, lifting all of your body weight with just that leg. Then step back down. Now switch legs and start over.
Try doing these in sets of 10 with each leg. You'll know you're doing them right if you feel the burn!
Jumping jack/jumping high knee
This last move might seem like the easiest, but it can really help you kick up your heart rate, work up a sweat and engage your core in no time! You know what a jumping jack is — you've been doing them since you were a kid — but adding an extra twist transforms them from just regular fun into serious exercise.
Do five jumping jacks, one per second. Then, without stopping, do five seconds of jumping high knees, alternating legs. For anyone who's unfamiliar with the jumping high knee, you do it by raising one of your legs in front of you and up toward your chest, as high as you possibly can, as you jump and switch legs. Do both these moves quickly and explosively — they'll work much better to burn calories and activate your muscles that way. Do this circuit for 60 seconds: 30 seconds of jumping jacks and 30 seconds of jumping high knees. You'll feel it. There's even a chance you might have fun.
Hopefully, this short list of moves will help give you an idea of how easy it can be to adjust your fitness priorities in 2014. Just a few minutes of intense exercise can really go a long way, and it all starts with positive steps — so get going!