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To Your Health
October, 2008 (Vol. 02, Issue 10)
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3 Ways to Get in Shape FAST

By Editorial Staff

Who better than personal trainers to know the best exercises to get you in shape safely and effectively? The American Council on Exercise (ACE) recently conducted a survey of 1,000 ACE-certified personal trainers to get their advice regarding the best techniques to get fit. Here are their top three recommendations, which the ACE suggests combining with a healthy diet to achieve the best results:

Strength Training - Just 20 minutes of basic exercises, two days a week, will help firm and tone the whole body. Strength training will modestly increase metabolism, helping to burn more calories, even when you are resting. Start your program with one set of exercises and a weight that allows you to do eight to 12 repetitions. The program should exercise the major muscle groups of the lower body, torso and upper body. Special attention should also be given to strengthening the core muscles and lower back.

image - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark Interval Training - Lack of time is the number-one reason people give for not exercising regularly, and lack of results once they do start exercising isn't far behind. Interval training is a great solution for both of these common complaints. Alternate short bursts of intense activity with what is called active recovery - typically a less-intense form of the original activity. "In its most basic form, interval training might involve walking for two minutes, running for two, and alternating this pattern throughout the duration of a workout, it is an extremely time-efficient and productive way to exercise," says Cedric Bryant, PhD, FACSM, chief science officer for ACE.

Increased Cardio/Aerobic Exercise - Aerobic exercise is any activity that uses large muscle groups in a continuous, rhythmic fashion for sustained periods of time. Walking is a weight-bearing aerobic exercise, as are jogging, rope-skipping and dance. There are also non-weight-bearing aerobic exercises such as bicycling, swimming and rowing. "You should exercise at a comfortable pace and gradually increase the intensity of your workouts. To lose weight, gradually work towards accumulating 60 minutes or more of low- to moderate-intensity physical activity on most days of the week," says Bryant.

So get out there and get moving! There's no better time to get in shape, and your body will thank you for it.