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20 Minute Age Eraser

From eDiets - The online diet, fitness, and healthy living resource

EDITOR'S NOTE: Studies show the importance of a regular fitness routine. Think you're too busy to squeeze in a little sweat time? You can make great strides to not only feel and look younger, but to also drop weight more effectively by fitting in as little as 20 minutes of exercise three times a week.

Surveys reveal that most people are aware that exercise and sensible eating are good for them, but still cant stick to a workout routine and nutritional plan for more than a month or two. The dropout rate at four to six weeks is over 90 percent. Without some type of intervention, the average man or woman over age 30 packs on about 5 pounds of fat per year.

Its estimated that 50 or even 60 percent of our society is considered medically overweight. Insulin insensitivity, diabetes, coronary artery disease, hypertension, kidney failure, and stroke all plague the obese. There is also a mounting body of evidence that connects excessive body fat with certain types of cancer, most likely the result of an overworked immune system.

The Centers for Disease Control reports each year there are more than 300,000 preventable, obesity related deaths in this country alone.

But long, arduous workouts that place unrealistic demands on your time and energy may not be the answer. This is especially true when strenuous exercise is combined with extreme diets that restrict food choices. You need to develop a realistic approach to fitness and weight loss.

You stand a much better chance at succeeding with an exercise program that calls for a relatively small investment in time (just 20 or 30 minutes, 3 days per week), doesn’t sap your energy reserves, and is backed up by a sensible, easy-to-follow meal plan.

Here's one of my favorite quick, effective workouts:

Perform 2 sets of each of the following exercises. Rest from 1 to 2 minutes between each set. Shorter rest between sets will promote more fat burning, while longer rest will tend to create more strength and muscle. Repeat the entire workout twice or 3 times each week, but allow at least 48 hours between workouts. Use the Intensity Booster provided with each exercise to enable yourself to hit muscle fatigue at the recommended repetition range.

Squat With Dumbbells Squat With Dumbbells
Start out by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart holding dumbbells at your sides. Hold the head straight while you maintain the natural arch in your back, knees soft. Inhale as you bend at the knees and hips to a sitting position or as low as you can comfortably go without pain or discomfort. Allow the arms to swing forward for balance.

Your buttocks never drop below the level of your knees, and your knees do not extend beyond the toes. Exhale, slowly rising to a standing position with knees and hips straight, allowing the arms to drop back to your sides. Ideally, select a resistance level (body weight or dumbbells) that enables you to hit muscle fatigue in the 12- to 20-repetition range.

Intensity Booster: Hold dumbbells (as shown), but if you don't have access to free weights, simply perform this exercise at a slower pace to increase intensity and overall results. Squat down to a slow count of 8, and back up to a slow count of 4.

Classic Push Up Classic Push-Up or Modified Push-Up
Lie face down on the floor or mat, hands on the floor, palms down, slightly wider than shoulder width apart, and toes curled under on the floor. Your back and legs are straight. Exhale as you slowly straighten your arms and push your body away from the floor. Inhale, lowering yourself back down to the point where your chest comes within a few inches of the floor. Repeat to muscle fatigue (in the range of 15 to 20 repetitions).

Intensity Booster: Elevate the feet on a step or bench (while your hands remain on the floor) to increase intensity. To reduce overall intensity, perform the Modified Push-Up instead of the classic version.

Modified Push Up Modified Push-Up
Everything remains the same as in the regular push-up, except the knees are bent and remain on the floor throughout the movement instead of the feet. Repeat to muscle fatigue (in the range of 15 to 20 repetitions).

Leg Raise
Leg Raise Lie supine on a mat or padded carpet, legs straight, both hands under your buttocks to help maintain the proper pelvic tilt (engages abs). With your head held off the floor a few inches, exhale and slowly bring your knees to your chest. If necessary, support your head and neck with a folded towel. Inhale as you straighten your legs (make sure you keep the lower back pressed firmly into the floor), then return to the starting position. Repeat to muscle fatigue (in the range of 20 to 30 reps).

Intensity Booster: Kicking the legs straight out and near the floor will increase intensity (as shown), while kicking higher up, and away from the floor will reduce it.

So what happens if you don’t exercise? Sedentary and out of shape, your body will biologically age about twice as fast as your active identical twin.

The American Medical Association lists inactivity as a primary factor for biological aging and the development of many age-related disorders such as high blood pressure, heart disease and Type 2 diabetes. In the U.S. alone, osteoporosis, or low bone density, threatens half the population aged 50 and older. According to figures released by the National Osteoporosis Foundation, approximately 44 million Americans (30 million of which are women) are currently affected by this debilitating disease.

Aging is also associated with a loss of lean muscle mass. Less muscle translates into ever decreasing strength, balance and coordination as you age. Allowing the body to work against a progressively challenging level of resistance, on a regular basis, can interrupt the process of wasting away bone and muscle tissue, the very definition of aging.

Medical science, as well as most physicians, has largely overlooked the remarkable effect resistance training, or weight lifting, can have on health and longevity. Training with weights has traditionally been seen almost exclusively as a way to achieve muscular strength, endurance and athletic prowess. Doctors have all but ignored the effect resistance training has on functionality, especially as we age.

The ability to take part in simple, everyday activities is what maintains independence, vitality, and a lust for life. A few properly performed resistance movements, done two or three days per week, will stave off the ravages of old age as you head towards your Golden Years. You’ll never be forced to give up life’s daily activities. Lift heavy packages, run for the bus, climb stairs, play tennis, or do anything else your healthy heart desires.

The process of deterioration can start in our mid-20s and continues throughout life. With the passage of every sedentary year, your body will lose more and more of its lean muscle mass (a combination of muscle and bone). And that’s only half the story. As you drop off muscle your metabolic requirements are reduced, and your body begins to store this extra, unused fat.

Suddenly 10 years pass, you’re 50 pounds overweight and don’t have the energy to get out of bed. But it’s not too late to halt the process! A solid strength routine can be started at any age. A set of dumbbells, resistance bands, or even body weight can provide all the resistance you need to get big results.

If you’ve never trained with weights, start slowly. Get some comprehensive instruction from a reliable source, such as a professional trainer. Educate yourself on the different approaches to weight training and you’ll automatically gravitate to one that’s right for you. Get ready to enjoy the transformation.

The mission of Team Beachbody is to motivate you and to educate you about health, fitness and nutrition and the benefits of maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
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