5 Quick Toning Exercises for People with Busy Lives

5 Quick Toning Exercises for People with Busy Lives

toning exercisesA simple set of body toning exercises really can help to transform your body into something truly amazing.

With a bit (OK maybe a lot) of work you’ll be able to achieve thighs and buns as solid as steel, a sexy flat tummy and beautifully defined arms and shoulders.  Just imagine, summer on the beach, and there you are parading your newly toned body.

How good would that feel?

Exercise is extremely important for everyone and you owe it to yourself to stay in shape. Not only will you start to look and feel better, you’ll also improve your life expectancy and sustain future health by increasing long term muscle mass and bone density.

One of the most common reasons for not exercising is lack of time. There’s the day job to get to, the household chores to complete, the shopping to buy and, if you’re a mother, the kids to look after.  So how on earth are you expected to find the time to workout? Well hopefully these quick, easy and effective toning exercises will make you see that you really can make time for getting your body into shape.

Best of all you can do them pretty much anywhere whether you’re at home or on vacation. You could even do them at work, if you’re able to get a little privacy away from the prying eyes of your colleagues that is!

On to the toning exercises:

1. Crunches

You can work your abdominal muscles every day to help build strength and muscle tone.  Lying down on the floor with your knees bent and pointing upwards, place your hands behind your head. Use your abs to pull your upper body up by squeezing them tightly. When you feel as though your lower back is about to lift off the floor, hold your position for a count of 5 before gently lowering yourself back down to the ground. Repeat the exercise for a set of 8 to 12, depending upon how strong you feel.

You can work your abdominal muscles every day to help build strength and muscle tone.  Lying down on the floor with your knees bent and pointing upwards, place your hands behind your head. Use your abs to pull your upper body up by squeezing them tightly. When you feel as though your lower back is about to lift off the floor, hold your position for a count of 5 before gently lowering yourself back down to the ground. Repeat the exercise for a set of 8 to 12, depending upon how strong you feel.

Note: Do not pull on the back of your neck in an attempt to help you up. Not only is it cheating, it’s also extremely dangerous.  You could do yourself a lot of harm.

2. Squats

These are great for really working your butt and hamstring muscles as well as your quadriceps. You can either use a chair to help correct your form or do these free-standing. With your feet firmly planted on the ground and shoulder width apart, push back with your butt as though you’re about to sit down on a chair. Make sure you suck your abs in tight.  Your upper body should be as straight as possible. When you’re at chair level hold the stance and count to 5 then come back to a standing position.  Aim to do around 8 to 12 sets of these.

Note: In the squat position all of your weight should be on your heels.  This will help with balance and allow you to achieve maximum toning.

3. Reverse Lunges

These exercises work well for toning your quadriceps muscles. Standing with your feet together and arms by your sides, extend one leg backwards to bring you into a lunge stance.  The ball of your foot should be on the ground and your front leg should be bent at a 90 degree angle. Once you’re in this position gently lower yourself down until your back knee almost touches the floor. Hold and count to 2 before returning to your start position.  Again, aim for between 8 to 12 sets on each leg.

Note: If you have bad knees it will be difficult for you to do these exercises effectively, if at all, so don’t push yourself.

4. The Bridge Butt Lift

This may sound like some crazy plastic surgery procedure but it’s actually a very simple way to firm up your butt muscles. Lie down with your feet flat on the floor. Adjust yourself so your legs are shoulder width apart – your hands should be at either side of your body with the palms facing down. Now push your feet hard into the ground whilst squeezing your butt muscles. You want to lift your butt right off the ground.  Hold this pose for a slow count of 5 to 10 before slowly returning your body to the floor. Repeat the move for a set of 8 to 12.

Note: There is the temptation to rush this exercise. Do not do it. The slower you go the more toned your butt will become.

5. Push Ups

These are great for opening the chest area and toning your arms and shoulders. You can vary these by either having your arms wide apart or by tucking them into your body. Make sure to keep your back straight at all times as you lower and raise your body to and from the ground. Start out by doing 10 of these and as you become stronger increase that number.

Note: If you’re not comfortable or don ‘t feel as though you have enough upper body strength to do a full push up, gently drop your knees to the ground with your weight pushed forward. Perform the push up from this position instead. You’ll soon build up the strength to do a full one.

These are 5 very simple toning exercises which you can easily fit into your day.  You only need to spend about 5 or 10 minutes doing them to be able to reap the benefits. Plus as you become fitter you can increase the number of sets you do and add more repetitions to keep you challenged.

I also recommend you check out Personal Training With Jackie – It’s a home workout DVD that is geared towards people who want to exercise, but struggle to find the time. Still think there aren’t enough hours in the day to exercise?

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photo credits: Lululemonath