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3 Reasons to Choose Moderate Exercise3 Reasons to Choose Moderate Exercise


Reasons to Choose Moderate Exercise

Challenging, lengthy workouts burn calories for weight loss and improve fitness, but moderate exercise may be the answer to making positive, long-term improvements in health. These are three reasons a 30-minute, moderate-intensity exercise session each day still might be the best choice for you.

It encourages a healthy lifestyle.

Moderate exercise may help you maintain the energy necessary to make healthy, active choices throughout your day. One study divided healthy, overweight men into a low exercise group that exercised 30 minutes a day, and a high exercise group that exercised 1 hour a day. Those in the low exercise group lost more weight (3.6 kilograms vs. 2.7 kilograms) over three months. They also reported feeling more energized and motivated to stay active throughout the day by taking the stairs and walking the dog. The high exercise group reported feelings of exhaustion with little motivation to add extra activity beyond their workouts.

It’s achievable.

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) and high-intensity circuit training (HICT) are effective, but these challenging activities are not ideal for all fitness levels. They often leave beginners discouraged, decreasing motivation to stick with a fitness plan. Exercise must be both challenging and achievable for long-term success.

It reduces burnout.

Challenging workout programs promote a need to constantly push yourself to be better, stronger, and to work out longer. While there are benefits to setting long-term fitness goals, everyone needs a break from the pressure. Without one, you can easily get burned out and give up on exercise altogether. A moderate program that is both enjoyable and challenging will become something you look forward to. Exercise should not feel like a punishment that you dread.

9 Medicine Ball Exercises that Tone the Whole Body9 Medicine Ball Exercises that Tone the Whole Body


Medicine Ball Exercises

New exercise gadgets come and go, but the medicine ball is a fitness tool that has been around for ages. Newer models come in a variety of weights and sizes with an easy-grip surface. Change up your strength training routine by using a medicine ball with these effective exercises.

Squat with Overhead Press

Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Hold the medicine ball with both hands close to your body, at shoulder level. Squat and bend your knees to a 90 degree angle.* At the same time, push the medicine ball straight up overhead with your arms extended. Stand back up and return the ball to chest level.

Side Lunges with a Front Raise

Stand with feet together. Hold the ball in both hands with your arms extended down towards the floor. Step the right foot to the right and bend the right knee to 90 degrees.* (Your left foot should be flat on the floor with your left leg straight.) As you lunge, raise the ball out in front of you at chest level with straight arms. Lower the ball back to the starting position and step the right foot back to the center. Repeat on the left side, alternating sides with each lunge.

Forward Scissor Lunges

Stand with feet hip-width apart. Step forward with your right foot into a forward lunge. Bend your right knee to a 90-degree angle and lower your left knee towards the floor as your left heel raises off the ground.* Pass the medicine ball under your right knee from your left hand to your right hand. Return to the starting position. Lunge forward with your left leg and pass the ball under your left knee from your right arm to your left arm.

Chest Press

Lie on your back on the floor with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Hold the ball over your chest and push the ball into the air until your arms are fully extended. Lower to the starting position and repeat.

Shoulder Chop

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Hold the ball with both hands in the air over your right shoulder with your arms fully extended. Move the ball at a diagonal across your body and bend your left knee as you touch the ball the floor on the outside of your left foot. Return to the starting position and complete all repetitions before switching to the other side.

Triceps Overhead Press

Hold the medicine ball in both hands straight up overhead with your arms fully extended. Keep your arms close to your ears and slowly bend your elbows to lower the ball behind your head. Once your elbows bend to slightly less than a 90 degree angle, press the ball back up to the starting position.

Scissor Crunches

Sit on the floor with knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Hold a small medicine ball with both hands, close to your chest. Keeping your upper back straight, slowly lower it towards the floor until you feel your abdominals engage. Hold this position and lift your right foot about 6 inches off the floor. Pass the ball under your right knee from your left hand to your right hand. Switch legs and pass the ball under the left knee back to the left hand.

Oblique Twists

Sit on the floor with knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Hold a small medicine ball with both hands, close to your chest. Keeping your upper back straight, slowly lower it towards the floor until you feel your abdominals engage. Hold the medicine out in front of you with both hands and your arms fully extended at chest level. Slowly rotate your torso to the right and move the ball to the right with straight, extended arms. Return to center and slowly rotate to the left.

Around the Core

Sit on the floor with knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Hold a small medicine ball with both hands, close to your chest. Keeping your upper back straight, slowly lower it towards the floor until you feel your abdominals engage. Move the ball to your right hand, and pass it behind your back to your left hand. Continue to pass the ball in the same direction around your torso to complete your full number of repetitions before switching directions.

*When doing squats and lunges its important to practice safe form to protect your knees. Sit your bottom back as you squat and lower your body straight down when lunging to ensure that your knees do not push forward past your toes.

Inexpensive Equipment for Home ExerciseInexpensive Equipment for Home Exercise


Inexpensive Equipment for Home Exercise

You can have a great workout at home without any equipment, but sometimes a few inexpensive pieces can help you vary your exercises and increase intensity. These are five tools for your home gym with ideas for how to use them to improve your workout.

Stability Ball

According to the American Council on Exercise, crunches on a stability ball are ranked number three in the top 13 most effective abdominal exercises. It is also useful for toning more than your core. A stability ball can improve your form and increase the intensity of push-ups, wall-sits, leg raises, and stretches.

Jump Rope

Jump rope for only a few minutes and you will know why it is rated as a high intensity activity that blasts calories. A 150-pound woman who jumps rope at a fast pace for just 5 minutes will burn 73 calories. A jump rope can also be used to intensify stretching. When stretching your calves and hamstrings, wrap the rope around the ball of your foot, grasp an end of the rope in each hand and gently pull back to increase the stretch along the back of your legs.

Medicine Ball

Using a medicine ball for resistance gives your hands and wrists a break from the stress caused by gripping dumbbells. They come in a variety of weights and sizes that allow you pick the best fit for each exercise. Hold the medicine ball close the body at chest-height as you do squats, lunges, or crunches.


You don’t have to do step aerobics to enjoy the benefits of having the step at home. A step can be used for incline push-ups, one-leg squats, and reverse lunges. It can also be used as a bench for chest press, triceps dips, and crunches. Increase the intensity of your cardio while using little space with step-ups or jump ups.

Yoga Blocks

These lightweight blocks can be used for more than yoga. Place a block between your knees when doing abdominal exercises or double leg raises to keep proper alignment and tone the inner thighs. Pass the block from side to side when doing oblique twists or through your legs when doing scissor crunches.

7 Hobbies That Keep You Fit7 Hobbies That Keep You Fit


Hobbies That Keep You Fit

How you choose to spend your leisure time can make a big difference in your fitness level. These hobbies will keep you moving and get you excited about living a healthy lifestyle.

Outdoor Explorer

Hiking and camping are not activities for the couch potato. Carrying supplies, setting up camp, and exploring trails requires at least a moderate level of fitness. The more challenging the hikes and the higher the elevation, the better shape you will need to be in. The calories you burn and the muscles you strengthen while exploring the outdoors will improve your physical health, but the mental break that nature provides will bring you back to your daily activities with a renewed spirit and a positive attitude.

Team Player

You don’t have to leave recreational sports behind as you get older. Adult leagues for softball, soccer, volleyball, basketball, rowing, skating, and more can be found in most communities. Start by checking out your local office of Parks and Recreation. Spending a few hours a week playing a sport you enjoy allows you to get in exercise without a structured session at the gym.


Whether you tend to flowers, herbs, or vegetables, gardening keeps you active mentally and physically. Research from Jill Litt, Ph.D. of the University of Colorado found that people who participate in community gardening cultivate relationships with their neighbors, have a more positive outlook on health, and eat better. Research also estimates that gardeners engage in 30% more exercise than non-gardeners. From planting to harvest, the tasks involved boost the number of daily calories you burn.


An interest in history doesn’t mean you have to keep your nose in a book. Exploring historic monuments, visiting museums, and touring cities on foot are all ways to feed your passion while staying active.

Creative Cook

The desire to cook and enjoy delicious food does not have to guarantee weight gain. Healthy cooking classes can be found at local grocery stores, community centers and universities. These classes will teach you how to use fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and lean protein to create nutritious meals that you enjoy eating. Research shows that improving food and cooking skills may have a positive impact on food choices.


Active volunteering takes many forms. You can help out at a local charity fitness event, assist at clean-up days in your community, or work with youth. Anything that involves physical labor or recreational play will keep you moving and burn the calories needed for weight control.


Traveling gives you a break from your normal routine which improves your attitude and renews motivation. It also provides plenty of opportunities to keep you active. Exploring parks, visiting tourist attractions and browsing the local markets all contribute to active travel. If you are more adventurous, take things to the next level with hiking, rock climbing, or zipline tours.

A Fast and Effective 7-Minute WorkoutA Fast and Effective 7-Minute Workout


7-Minute Workout

Termed high-intensity circuit training (HICT), the 7-minute workout is similar to high-intensity interval training (HIIT), but it incorporates both cardio and strength training exercises. Research suggests that HICT provides a fast and efficient way to lose weight. Studies also indicate that it may target subcutaneous fat loss better than lengthy, steady paced cardio or strength sessions. Improved insulin resistance and increased aerobic capacity are some of the many health benefits of regular HICT.

While HICT has been made popular as a 7-minute workout, researchers point out that for maximum health benefit, the circuits should be performed two to three times for a total of 14 to 21 minutes. HICT exercises are challenging, cause discomfort, and result in fatigue. This type of training is not for beginners. You will move quickly through exercises and this requires that you know safe exercise form to prevent injury.

Components of 7-minute HICT Workout

  • Targets all muscle groups with special emphasis on large muscles to increase intensity.
  • Easy to modify to increase or reduce intensity level.
  • Uses what is available (benches, steps, walls).
  • Provides smooth transition from one exercise to the next.
  • Alternates between upper and lower body moves.
  • Alternates between exercises that increase heart rate and those that lower it.
  • Includes 9 to 12 exercises.
  • Includes 15 to 20 repetitions for each exercise.
  • Includes intervals lasting at least 30 seconds with 10 seconds to transition between exercises.

7-minute HICT Example Workout

HICT can be adjusted to include any of your favorite cardio or strength moves. Use this example to get started. Perform each exercise for 30 seconds and take no more than 10 seconds to transition between exercises.

High Knees - Run in place lifting your knees high towards your chest while holding your stomach muscles tight.

One Leg Plank - Get into plank position on the floor on your elbows and toes. Elevate your right foot slightly off the floor, raising your leg and contracting your buttocks. Raise it for 15 seconds and then switch and raise your left leg.

Push-ups - Get into push-up position on the floor with your hands a little wider than shoulder-width apart. You can perform the exercise on your toes or on your knees. Lower your chin to the ground, keeping your abs tight and your body in a straight line from head to heels (or knees). Push back up to the starting position.

Alternating Forward Lunges - Step your right foot forward and lower into a lunge position. Lower the left knee to the ground and bend the right knee, being sure that it doesn’t shift forward past your toes. Raise yourself back up, step back to the starting position. Repeat with your left leg.

Jump Squats - Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Lower into a squat (sit back and keep your knees behind your toes). Push yourself up with an explosive movement. Land and lower into a squat again to repeat.

Standing Side Crunches - Stand with your feet wider than your hips and lower into a squat or plié squat position. Place your left fingertips behind your left ear. Extend your right arm down your right side. Lean to the right and reach your hand towards your right ankle. Return to start. Crunch on the right side for 15 seconds and then switch to the left side.

Pike Push-ups - Get into downward dog position with your hands shoulder-width apart on the floor. Use your shoulders as you lower your head to the ground and push back up to downward dog position.

Jump Rope - Quickly jump in place as you circle your forearms with your elbows tucked into your sides as if you were swinging a jump rope.

Side Lunges - Start with feet hip-width apart. Step your right leg out to the right and bend the right knee. Keep the left leg straight with the foot flat on the floor. Push off your right leg and return to the starting position. Switch legs and lunge to the left.

Side Plank - Lie on the floor on one side. Bring yourself onto your elbow and extend your legs in a straight line. Support your weight with your elbow and your stacked feet. Hold for 15 seconds and switch sides.

Jumping Jacks - Jump both legs out as you lift both arms into the air. Jump the feet back together as the arms come down. Repeat.

Wall Sit - Position yourself so that your back is against the wall. Lower until you are in a seated position and your knees are at a 90-degree angle with your legs supporting your weight. Hold the position for the full 30 seconds.

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