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5 Exercises That Are More Effective In Shaping Your Body Than Running

5 Exercises That Are More Effective In Shaping Your Body Than Running

Everyone wants to be in shape. But not many people absolutely love working out and running. However, there are a variety of exercises you can do in your home or your backyard that are just as effective in toning your body as running, if not more so. The following exercises affect various parts of the body, ensuring that you’re getting an all-around workout each time you put on some gym clothes.

1. Burpees

Burpees are like up-downs with an included jump added into the motion. It’s a full body exercise that focuses on your core while also increasing your stamina. As you get a rhythm down, you should increase the speed of your motions. Try to do them as fast as you possibly can for maximum effect. Try doing 100 of these a day, and you’re sure to see improvement within a week.

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2. Tuck Jumps

Who would have thought that simply jumping in place would be a great alternative to running? Tuck jumps burn calories and build up your endurance, and you don’t need a lot of space to do them correctly. While doing tuck jumps, put your arms out straight in front of you and pull your knees up as you jump, trying to touch them to your hands. The closer you get, the stronger your core will become. Try to do as many tuck jumps in one session as you possibly can!

3. Jump Rope

If you feel silly simply jumping in place, grab a jump rope to accompany your workout. As well as burning calories and increasing stamina, jumping rope is a great way to get your heart rate up quickly. While jumping rope, you can add variations to mix up your routine, such as: quickening or slowing your pace, tuck jumping, or doing “double unders.” There are also many jump rope workout routines you can check out on YouTube if you need some guidance.

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4. High Knee Sprints

When you do go for a jog or run, you can vary your speed as well as your range of motion to increase effectiveness. Think of high knees as the motion you would make while running in place, but continue moving forward while doing so. Doing high knee sprints will burn more calories as well as increase your heart rate even more than simple running or jogging. While doing high knees you should keep the same running pace or, if possible, increase your speed. Try to do high knee sprints intermittently throughout your jog, but take breaks to slow your pace and jog when you need to.

5. Long Jumps

To do long jumps effectively, you should be in a wide open space. Obviously, the idea is to jump as far as you can, so the larger the space, the more potential your workout has. With your feet firmly planted on the ground, jump as far forward as you possibly can. Do it again and again until you reach the edge of your workout space, turn around, and go back. Try to do sets of 10-20 jumps at least three times to build lower body and core strength. You’ll also be working on your balance and coordination, as you’ll have to hold yourself back as you gain forward momentum. Just make sure to stop short of any walls.

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6. Mountain Climbers

You’ve probably been doing mountain climbers ever since 3rd grade gym class without realizing the beneficial effects they have on your body. Mountain climbers increase your circulation, and require you to utilize your whole body to do them effectively. Doing this exercise strengthens your arm, core, and leg muscles throughout the routine. You don’t need a large space in which to do mountain climbers, so you have no excuse to not drop down and do a few sets of 50 while watching TV tonight!

Featured photo credit: Flickr via farm4.staticflickr.com

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Last Updated on May 22, 2019

10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

There are lots of studies that show if you do some exercise in the morning, you will be in a better mood all day long. You will have more energy and you will certainly be a better colleague, friend or partner.

One psychologist at Duke University has researched the effects of exercise on depressed patients and he has come to the conclusion that exercise has a definite role in treating this condition and has an important role in preventing people from relapsing.[1] According to the New York Times, scientists have now established that exercise also boosts your brain power.[2]

In addition, there are studies from the Appalachian State University which show that blood pressure can be reduced by doing regular morning exercise.[3]

Here are 10 simple morning exercises that will help you feel great the whole day long. You can include some of them in your morning exercise routine or do them all at home without having to enrol in a gym. Consult your doctor before starting any form of exercise routine if you are new to this.

1. Cat Camel Stretch

Stretching exercises are useful for muscle toning and also preventing arthritis. They can either be dynamic or static.

Dynamic ones such as the cat camel stretch, are particularly useful for doing other exercises in the morning. They are also beneficial at other times of the day, especially after long periods of sedentary work. This one is great for spinal flexibility and is a good warm up exercise.

Kneel down on all fours. Start by rounding your back just like a camel so that your head will try to meet your pelvis. This is the camel position. Then lower and lift your head so that your lower back is arched. This is the cat position. Do these movements slowly and smoothly. About 4 or 5 times.

Here’s a video to guide you through:

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2. Go for a Walk or a Run

This is better done outside so that you can connect with nature but running inside on a treadmill is almost as good. You can time yourself and increase length and time according to your fitness program.

Always have new goals to reach. Start with brisk walking and work up to running. At my age, I am still walking!

The health benefits are considerable. You can build stronger bones and you can help to maintain your weight.

Also, you are helping your heart to stay healthy and keeping your blood pressure low.

Learn more about the benefits of running here: 8 Benefits of Running 5 Minutes Every Day You Didn’t Know

3. Jumping Jacks

Michelle Obama is a great fan of this exercise and has become “Jumper in Chief.”[4] They are great for cardiovascular health and also for toning muscles especially the calves and the deltoids.

Stand with feet together. Jump while spreading your arms and legs. Return to first position and keep going! You can start with doing these for 1 minute and then gradually build up to the number you are comfortable with. Here’s how:

4. Abductor Side Lifts

Watch the video below to see how to do this exercise. These muscles are important because you use them everyday to run, get into the car or onto and off a bicycle. They are very important also for your core stability and prevent the pelvis from tilting.[5]

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Do about 10 to 15 raises for each side like this:

5. Balancing Table Pose

This is a classic yoga pose. It benefits the spine, balance, memory and concentration.

Start with the table pose (hands and knees). Breathe in before starting each movement. As you exhale, raise your left leg parallel to the floor as you raise the right arm, also parallel to the floor. Breathe in as you lower arm and leg. Repeat for the other side. 10 repetitions on each side is a good starting point.

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    6. Leg Squats

    Not just legs are involved but also hips and knees.

    Stand with your feet a bit further out from your hips. Arms are out in front of you. Then lower yourself as if you wanted to sit down until you reach a 90 degree angle. You can go down further if you want to. Then return to the starting position. Repeat 15 times for 2 sets for beginners.

    The benefits are that these exercises help with knee stability and can benefit the leg muscles such as quadriceps, hamstrings and calves.[6]

    7. Push Ups

    You start lying down (face down) but with your body held up at arm’s length. Your hands should be in line with your shoulders. Breathe in as you lower your body. That is fairly easy. Now, as you exhale, you have to get back up to the starting position.

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    An easier version to start with is to bend your legs at the knees so you do not have to lift your whole body.

    Beginners may take up to a month to be able to do 100 push ups so you will have to start with a very small number and gradually increase it.

    This exercise is great for strengthening the chest, shoulders and the triceps. It is a great strengthening exercise for many muscle groups. In fact, most muscles from the toes to the shoulders are being used.

    8. Bicycle Crunches

    There are numerous crunch exercises targeting the abs. The bicycle crunch is a variation where you work more muscle groups. Aim for 15 to 20 reps to start off with.

    Watch the video to see how this is done correctly:

    9. Lunges

    Stand with feet shoulder width apart. Place your hand on your hips. Take one giant step forward with the right leg. Make sure the knee does not go too far forward, that is, past your toes. The left knee will go down to almost floor level. Alternate the legs as you go on.

    Try to do a set of between 8 and 12 reps for each leg. It is important to allow for a day of rest, so this exercise should be done on alternate days, especially if you are using weights.

    This exercise is great for strengthening and toning the quadriceps, glutes and hamstrings.

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    10. Bicep Curls

    You can do this sitting down so if you spend a lot of time on the phone, this is a great exercise to do.

    Choose suitable dumbbells or another household object that you can easily hold. Sit down with the dumbbell in your hand. You need to sit forward a bit so that your triceps can lean on your thigh to give you support.

    Then bring the weighted arm up to shoulder length and then down again. Exhale as you lift the weight and inhale as you lower it.

    Here’re some important notes before you start doing this exercise:

    Try to do one or two sets of about ten repetitions for each arm and then switch arms.

    These exercises are really useful for toning the arm muscles.[7] In addition, they can strengthen and tone the brachioradialis muscle located in the forearm. These are the muscles we use to pick up things when we flex the arm at the elbow so we use these muscles countless times a day.

    You may have to build in a rest day for the heavier exercises, numbers 6–10. On the rest days, you can do gentler stretching exercises and also some walking or running.

    Morning exercise is not only a great mood booster, but will help you keep your weight down and also sleep better![8] Start including one or some of these exercises in your morning routine!

    More Articles About Exercises for Beginners

    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

    Reference

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