Fast and Fit

summer fitness routines
Get back in shape before summer with just a few simple routines.

When it starts to get warm, many people restart their fitness regimen. Here are some of the best exercises to get in shape fast.

Running

If you’re not already running, then work up to it. Start with a mile to figure out your baseline. If you’re in decent shape, aim for a 12-minute mile. Most people can easily walk a mile in 20 minutes, so running a mile in 12 minutes should be a steady but not overwhelming pace. After you figure out your base, keep tab of distance and time. Thirty minutes of cardio three to four times per week is ideal, so try to get in 2.5 miles per run for the first couple of weeks, then try to increase your speed to get more mileage in the same amount of time. If you’re feeling good, increase duration to 45 minutes of cardio starting around a month into your new regimen.

Make sure you have good running shoes and insoles. Shoe stores often have treadmills or a small track, so you can test out the shoes before buying. Salespeople can even tell you what shoes you need for different types of running and suggest specific brands to counterbalance any issues with your stride.

Jumping Jacks

Jumping jacks are a good mini cardio kick. For these, we’re going to change up the count a bit. When you jump out and clap, that’s 1, back together with arms down at your sides is 2, back up is 3, and down is 4. That is one jumping jack. Do 12 to 15 of these, and you’ll get a great little warmup.

Crunches

I like to call my favorite crunches, “These aren’t your mother’s crunches.” I discovered this abdominal workout style from Physique 57, my favorite barre method workout. They also have great online workouts—I highly recommend them.

Sit down on the ground on a mat, put a couch cushion or pillow behind you—the firmer it is, the better. The top of the pillow should lightly graze the bottom of your spine, just above your tailbone. Don’t sit on the pillow—it’s only there as a guide. Sit with your legs straight out in front of you. Roll back and keep your shoulder blades off the ground, tighten your abdominals, and make sure not to rest on the pillow. If your low back touches it a bit, that’s fine. Take your arms up overhead and by your ears, like a diver. Keep your shoulders down. Do as many crunches as you can in 60 seconds. Remember to breathe.

Squats

One of the largest muscles groups is the legs, specifically the thighs. Squats will help you strengthen your legs. Stand next to your kitchen sink and lightly hold onto the edge of it. Position your feet parallel to the sink and directly under your hips, with your knees slightly bent. Bend your knees more, make sure to track over your toes, go down halfway in two counts, come up in two counts. Do eight repetitions. If you want to increase the intensity, take it down all the way to your heels in one count and come up in one count.

As always, be sure to check with your health professional before beginning a new form of exercise.

Illustration courtesy of Andriy Yankovskyy.

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