Do you ever feel overwhelmed by a diet or weight-loss program? Or are you just short on time and looking for little things you can do to feel better about your body? We have a cheat sheet to help you get started.
Here's a list of small exercises you can do for five areas of your body. Each day has a different move! Stick to this routine and you'll notice a change in just a few weeks.
Monday: Stand and squeeze
You can do this exercise whenever you’re standing, and even while you’re waiting in line!
First, stand with your feet a couple of inches apart, and make sure your heels are directly behind your toes. With your feet straight, pull your abs in and begin to squeeze the inner thighs together. As you do that, you’ll notice your knees start to hit each other. To prevent this, think of externally rotating your shins so that your lower legs are pulling apart from each other. Now you’ll be engaging your inner thighs and keeping your knee joints protected. Do this for 60 seconds!
Tuesday: Butt lift
Try this exercise: Start on your hands and knees on the carpet or a yoga mat. Place your hands directly underneath your shoulders, and your knees directly underneath your hips, hip-width apart. Engage your abs, and then lift the right knee off the ground. Keep the leg bent, and press the right foot up towards the ceiling. Keep the foot flexed, and think of “raising the roof” with the right foot.
You’ll feel your glutes engage. Do this 20 times on the right leg, and then switch to the left leg.
Wednesday: Overhead extensions
The back of the arms are a problem area for a lot of people, but it's easy to target and tighten them. You can do this exercise while holding a gallon of milk, a few books or even some water bottles.
Reach your arms up, holding one item per hand (or if you have dumbbells, use 8- to 10-pound weights). Relax the shoulders while reaching the arms up. Hug the arms in towards the ears, and then bend the elbows so that you reach behind yourself with the items you’re holding. Then, extend the arms back up so they’re straight. You'll feel the tightening of the backs of the arms.
If you’re in public, or want an alternative to this, try a different version of this exercise: Standing with your feet as wide as your hips, lean forward and pull the abs in. Hug the elbows in towards your sides, and extend the arms straight back. You’ll feel a tightening in your triceps, and then bring the arms back to the starting position. Repeat either of these exercises for 20 repetitions!
Thursday: Side crunch
While lying on your back, bend your knees and keep your feet flat on the floor. Make sure the feet are hip-width apart. Tilt your pelvis by pulling your navel in towards your spine, and then curl up with your head, neck and chest. Reach the arms straight towards your ankles, and then reach towards the right ankle with the right hand, come back to center, and then reach towards the left ankle with the left hand. Repeat this 10 times per side.
You can do this in bed when you wake up or right before you go to sleep.
Friday: Reach for wine
If you’re looking forward to a glass of wine at the end of the week, try this fun exercise before rewarding yourself! Pour about ¼ cup of wine into your wine glass, and lie down on the floor. Put the glass in between your ankles or feet, or up on a table. Then, curl up with your head, neck and chest, and pulse your arms straight up towards the wine, as if you’re reaching for it! Repeat this 20 times, and then remove the wine glass, and pour yourself a full glass!
Stephanie Mansour is a lifestyle and weight-loss coach for women.