Tuesday Fit Tips

(1) Keep Your Muscles Flexible

If you're under forty, hold your stretches for 30 seconds. If you're over forty, hold them for 60 seconds. As you reach your 40s, your muscles become less pliable, so they need to be stretched longer. Try it and feel the difference.

(2) Excuse Be Gone

If you think you're too busy to exercise, try this: For one day, schedule a time to work out, even if you can exercise for only 10 minutes. "At the end of the day, ask yourself if you were any less productive than usual," says John Jakicic, Ph.D., an exercise psychologist at the Brown University school of medicine.

The answer will probably be… No! And, your favorite excuse will be gone forever.

 (3) Get Stronger Faster

Do the same amount of exercise in 10 percent less time. Why… it forces your muscles to work harder and improves your endurance at the same time. If it usually takes you 30 minutes to complete a full-body workout, then try to do it in 27 minutes the next time.

 (4) Squat Sits

Perfect form is essential. From body weight to heavy lifting, use a bench to squat with perfect form. That is, stand in front of the bench when you squat. Lower yourself as if you were sitting down. When your butt touches the bench, push yourself back up, and remember never round your back. Try it with a light bar or a broomstick first.

 (5) Early Bells

If you want to exercise before you start your day but aren't a morning person, try this doing this: For 3 or 4 weeks—force yourself to get up 15 minutes earlier than normal and do any type of physical activity (walking, for instance). "Make it so easy that you don't even have to change into your workout clothes," says John Raglin, Ph.D., an exercise researcher. As you near the end of the ‘trial period’, you'll have a new habit and will then be able to progress to greater amounts of exercise.