7 Most Effective Exercises

7 Most Effective Exercises

1. Walking

Cardiovascular exercise improves the heart and burns calories and should be included in any fitness routine. And, aside from a good pair of shoes, walking is something you can do anywhere, at any time.

Walking isn’t just for novices: even the fittest people can benefit from it.

Robert Gotlin, DO, director of orthopedic and sports rehabilitation at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York, believes that a fast walk can burn up to 500 calories per hour. If you walk for seven hours and burn 3,500 calories, you’ll lose a pound.

However, do not go from sitting on the couch to walking for an hour in one day. Beginners should begin by walking five to ten minutes at a time, gradually increasing to at least 30 minutes every session, according to Richard Cotton, spokesman for the American Council on Exercise.

7 Most Effective Exercises

2. Interval training

Adding interval training to your cardiovascular routine will improve your fitness level and help you lose weight, whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned exerciser, a walker, or an aerobic dancer.

Cotton explains that “variating your pace during the training session drives the aerobic system to adapt.” “The more aerobic system power you have, the more calories you can burn.”

Pushing the intensity or tempo for a minute or two, then easing off for two to ten minutes is a good way to do it (depending on how long your total workout will be, and how much time you need to recover). Carry on in this manner for the duration of your workout.

3. Squats

Experts agree that strength training is critical. “The better your potential to burn calories,” Cotton explains, “the more muscular fitness you have.”

Our experts also favored strength-training routines that target numerous muscle groups. Squats are a good example, as they work the quadriceps, hamstrings, and gluteals.

They give you the greatest bang for your buck since they use the most muscle groups at the same time, explains David Petersen of Oldsmar, Fla.

But, as Petersen points out, “form is everything.”

“How you perform the activity is what makes it functional,” he says. “It’s no longer functional if you have lousy technique.”

Maintain proper form by keeping your feet shoulder-width apart and your back straight. Cotton recommends bending your knees and lowering your back:

“Imagine you’re sitting in a chair, but the chair isn’t there,” Gotlin adds.

Physical therapist Adam Rufa of Cicero, New York, believes that practicing with an actual chair can be beneficial.

4. Lunges

Lunges, like squats, train all of the major lower-body muscles: gluteals, quadriceps, and hamstrings.

According to Petersen, the lunge is a fantastic workout because it “simulates living; it mimics walking.”

Cotton claims that lunges are a step up from squats and can help with balance as well.

Here’s how to do it properly: Take a huge stride forward while keeping your spine neutral. Bend your front knee to 90 degrees, focusing on retaining your weight on your back toes and lowering your back leg’s knee to the floor.

Petersen: Imagine yourself sitting on your back foot, says Petersen. “You should sit down on the trailing leg,” he explains.

According to Rufa, try moving back and out to each side to make a lunge even more functional.

“Life is multiplanar, not linear,” adds Rufa. The more practical workouts are, the better they prepare you for the many positions you’ll shift into during the day.

7 Most Effective Exercises

5. Push-ups

If done correctly, the push-up can simultaneously develop the chest, shoulders, triceps, and core trunk muscles.

“I’m a big fan of planking movements, almost yoga-style techniques,” Petersen adds. Whenever the pelvis and core [abdominals and back] are suspended, you must rely on your adherent strength to keep you stable.

How to do a flawless push-up is as follows: Place your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart from a face-down position. Put your toes or knees on the floor and strive to make a perfect diagonal with your body from your shoulders to your knees or feet. Engage the glutes [rear-end muscles] and the abdominals. Then, by bending and straightening your elbows, lower and raise your body while keeping your torso firm.

Rufa believes that there are always ways to make things more difficult. Once you’ve perfected your technique, try the “T-stabilization” push-up: get into a push-up position, then do your push-ups with one arm raised out to the side, balancing on the remaining three limbs without twisting your hips.

6. Abdominal Crunches

Who doesn’t want their abs to be firm and flat? According to experts, when done right, the familiar crunch (along with its variations) is a fantastic choice to target them.

Cotton recommends starting with a conventional crunch by lying on your back with your feet flat on the floor and your fingertips supporting your head. Begin by pressing your low back down and contracting your abdominals, then peeling your head (tucking your chin slightly), neck, shoulders, and upper back off the floor.

Keep your chin out of your line of vision to avoid pulling your neck forward; don’t hold your breath, and keep your elbows out of your line of vision to keep your chest and shoulders open.

Petersen, for one, instructs his customers to perform crunches with their feet off the ground and knees bent. Many people, he claims, arch their backs and engage their hip flexors when their feet are on the floor.

“Crunches can be great,” Petersen explains, “but if done incorrectly, with the back arching, they can weaken the abdominals.”

Take a regular crunch and rotate the spine toward one side as you curl off the floor, explains Cotton, to train the obliques (muscles on the sides of your waist).

He says, “Twist before you come up.” Because the obliques are the ones who truly lift you, the twist must happen first.

7. Bent-over Row

This exercise targets all of the major muscles of the upper back, as well as the biceps, giving you a lot of bang for your buck.

Here’s how to do it correctly. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, bend your knees and flex your hips forward. (If you have problems executing this exercise standing up, sit on an incline bench facing backward to support your weight.) To increase support, tilt your pelvis forward slightly, engage your abdominals, and stretch your upper spine. With hands about shoulder-width apart, hold dumbbells or a barbell beneath the shoulders. Lift both hands to the sides of your body while flexing your elbows. After a little pause, carefully lower your hands back to the beginning position. (Beginners should do this without the weights.)

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