Spring into Fitness with These 5 Simple Exercises

young woman stretching before Fitness and Exercise

Spring has almost sprung and it is time to get into shape! With these five simple exercises you can hit all of your target areas with ease. From arms, to glutes, to thighs, to that troublesome tummy area, there is something for everyone to sculpt or tone.

For those living in colder areas, getting that pre-summer body ready for swimsuit weather is a must! And if you live in a warmer climate, there is no better time to get into shape for a healthier you. Below is a collection of the 5 best, simple exercises you can incorporate for just a few minutes a day and still look and feel good!

1. Squats

jump_squat

This is one of those exercises that works well for the glutes – also known as your gluteus maximus (or your tushy!). While it might not seem very impressive, over time this simple exercise will strengthen and tighten this common problem area. For beginners, start with one rep of ten to fifteen squats. To perform the exercise correctly, follow the steps below:

  1. Double-check your feet. While standing, they should be about shoulder-width apart.
  2. Next, keep your core braced, your chest up, and neck neutral as you bend at the knees as if you are going to sit down in a chair.
  3. When your thighs run parallel to the floor, pause. Repeat nine more times.
  4. If you can’t quite get down to parallel, just go as far as you comfortably can.

For an extra twist, see if you can hold each squat for a short period of time. Just be sure not to go overboard. Start slowly and gently. If you go too low or too long, it can put pressure on your knees, and you will run the risk of injury.

2. Lunges

lunges

Timeless and effective, lunges can be performed in a variety of ways whether you are a beginner or at a more advanced stage in your workout routine. Start with a forward lunge. These can be done with or without the aid of dumbbells for added strength training and toning.

  1. While standing, begin with feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Take a large step forward, keeping your knee on a 90-degree angle. Do not push your knee with your hands or lean it forward past your toes. This can cause injury.
  3. Lower your body until it is parallel with the floor.
  4. Repeat the exercise on opposite legs until a full set of ten to fifteen has been completed.

This can be varied for an additional challenge by performing alternating lunges with dumbbells. To do this, simply hold your dumbbells straight at your sides and alternate legs.

3. Narrow Row

dumbells row

No one likes flabby arms. To tone them within a few weeks, do the following:

  1. While holding a pair of dumbbells, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. (The dumbbells should feel weighted but not so much as to risk injury).
  2. Bend forward as if touching your toes but don’t come all the way down. Keep your spine straight and arms extended toward the floor.
  3. Lift up the dumbbell to the side of the body like a 90-degree angle, hold, and come down to the original position with arms hanging straight down. Remember to breathe properly.

Do one set with each arm for about half a minute or so. This exercise also works the muscles in your back as well as your core.

4. Plank

Plank-Exercise

These newer exercises are becoming very popular because they require minimal effort and provide maximum results. To do a simple plank, follow the steps below:

  1. Begin with both your hands and your knees on the floor.
  2. Place your hands flat – centered under your shoulders.
  3. Step each foot back one at a time.
  4. Hold this position for 30 seconds or as long as you can. Beginners can start with less time. You will build up endurance easily and quickly.

If you place your feet wider than your hips it will be easier to maintain stability. If you want more of a challenge, bring your feet closer together. While keeping your focus on the floor, your spine should be completely straight. The goal is to hold up to a minute or longer. If this is too easy, increase the time for each plank as you feel fit.

5. Superman

Superman-Exercise

No, this isn’t about the movie. For a boost in chest and back strength, try this handy little exercise.

  1. Lie on your stomach.
  2. Keep your arms and legs extended so that your body forms a long, straight line.
  3. Slightly raise both of your arms and legs while keeping your core on the floor. This will form a small curve in your body, and you will look like you are flying like Superman!
  4. Hold for 30 seconds to begin with and work up to 1 minute or more.

Following these five simple exercises will definitely get you on the road to having the body you’ve always wanted. Whether the goal is for the beach or just to have better health, all you need is a few minutes a day.