Need energy to get through your day? Women everywhere can relate, whether they’re working long hours at the office or taking care of the kids at home on the domestic front – or both! Life is complicated, challenging and, well, just plain exhausting sometimes.
What to do for energy, stamina and to keep your immune system firing so you don’t get sick and sidelined from the action? Exercise. Best exercises for women, including ab exercises for women, and easy at home exercises for women, will give you the fuel you need.
No question, energy is great for our physical and mental health, providing those mood-boosting endorphins and stress relief. What woman doesn’t need those?
If you don’t exercise, your body starts to break down. Muscle mass will start to decrease as fibers lose their fat-burning capabilities. You lose strength, set yourself up for back pain and tight hips and hamstrings – if you’re sedentary at a desk for work, too much sitting can kill you without exercise. And your metabolism slows, so your body won’t burn calories as efficiently and you’ll likely gain weight. That muffin-top will start to appear and you may feel less capable or confident tackling your to-do list.
Lack of exercise, too, can make you more likely to crave and indulge in less healthy snacks and takeout food. Poor eating will sap your energy further and make you feel even less motivated to get on track with your healthy habits. The stress relief that comes with a workout won’t happen, and all the stress and anxiety can build up in your body, disturbing your sleep. Good sleep is essential for your health, giving your body a chance to heal and recharge.
See what we’re saying about a downward spiral when you don’t exercise?
We’ve rounded up some great exercise options to motivate and get your started. Remember, regular exercise does not have to mean training for a marathon or joining a gym. It can be something you fit into your day for short periods of time. Ideally, if you make it enjoyable and convenient for your daily schedule, you’ll be far more likely to stick with it.
Climb those stairs! Forgo the elevator and take the stairs. You can easily build in five or 10-minute intervals to climb stairs to break up your work day. This gets your heart rate up more quickly than you might think and that aerobic activity is great for your heart.
Work out at your desk: For women who sit at a desk, there are ways to sneak in exercise without leaving your chair. Make the most of your time! You can do leg raises by extending one leg out straight in front of you, hold for three seconds then raise it higher and hold another three seconds. Repeat with each leg 10 times.
Try the Magic Carpet Ride to challenge your core and arms. It even sounds fun! Sit in your chair with your legs crossed and your feet on the seat. Place your hands on the armrests, suck in your belly and raise yourself a few inches above the seat, using your belly, muscles and hands. Hold for 10 to 15 seconds. Rest for 30 seconds and repeat three or four times.
Get more out of your housework: Keeping the floors clean may seem like a boring chore, but put in your earbuds for some tunes and make mopping and vacuuming (especially the stairs) a real workout. Fit in some lunges and keep your knees lightly bent while you’re using your arms and core to move your mop or vacuum. A tidy home pays off!
Jump and squat: This anywhere, anytime exercise is easy, no equipment or space required. Stand with your feet hip-width apart, arms by your sides. Shift your hips back and down, lowering yourself until you feel your heels about to lift off the floor. Bend forward at the hips and try to keep a flat back. Now jump into the air, raising your arms to reach for the sky, then come back down lightly on your feet bending back down into your squat position. Keep your core muscles engaged to brace your torso, which helps protect your spine.
Make Kegel exercises a part of your regular routine. They can be done any time you are sitting or lying down. You can do them when you are , driving, eating, sitting at your desk, and when you are resting or watching television. The benefits of Kegel exercises are many. They help to make the muscles under the uterus, bladder and bowel – large intestine – stronger. That’s important. They can help with urine leakage or bowel control. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) recommends Kegel exercise three times a day for best results, morning, afternoon and night. Here’s how:
Breathe deeply, and relax your body while you do them. Make sure you are not tightening your stomach, thigh, buttock or chest muscles.
Along with Kegels, try the following exercises to tone and strengthen your entire body:
Back. Strengthen your entire core to prevent back pain. One of the best methods is the single-leg deadlift. Stand on your left foot and lift your right foot behind you, bending your knee so your right lower leg is parallel to the floor. Next, bend forward from your hips to slowly lower your body as far as you can. Pause, then push your body back to the starting position. As you come up, think about using your glutes to push your hips forward instead of lifting from your back. Keep core engaged and chest up during the entire movement.
Legs: Sculpt your inner thighs and tone the side of your butt for lean legs like a dancer with a second position plie. Here you stand with feet wider than shoulder-width apart, toes turned out. Then lower your body by bending your knees until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Bring your arms overhead and shoulders down and back. Pause, then slowly push yourself back up to the starting position.
Arms: Best way to work your arms is a push-up. You’re getting your arms, shoulders and back – so a triple threat. Get into a plank position with hands firmly planted under the shoulders. Push your toes into the floor to stabilize your bottom half and engage your abs and back so the body is flat. Lower your body until your chest nearly touches the floor, keeping your elbows tucked in close and exhale as you push back to the start position. Repeat and repeat (for as many reps as you can manage). For an easier version, bend and let your knees stay on the floor.
Tummy: When it comes to ab exercises for women, here’s a top routine. The side plank works the deep abdominal muscles – obliques, transverse abdominus — that many abs exercises don’t reach. Lie on your left side with your knees straight. Raise your upper body on your left elbow and forearm. Next, raise your hips until your body forms a straight line from your ankles to your shoulders. Now hold for 30 seconds. Turn around on your right side and repeat. Feel the burn!
These best exercises for women will work out your body and give you the power and energy you’re after. There’s no downside to exercise – just don’t overdo it and start slow and easy if you’re a beginner – but the payoff for your health today and in the years to come are huge.