If your goal is to have a toned physique, regular exercise has to be part of your game plan. It can help you reduce excess body fat, and sculpt and strengthen your muscles. When your body fat reduces, your toned muscle will show and you'll reap the benefits of your hard work.
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Rev Your Engine
Working up a sweat with cardiovascular exercise is inevitable if you need to lose those excess pounds. Thirty, or ideally 60 minutes, of heart-rate-raising exercise on five days of the week can do the trick. Any exercise that makes you sweat and breathe faster to the point where you can't sing, but can still talk, qualifies. Find activities that you enjoy doing -- consider swimming, riding a bike, walking briskly, roller skating, or use an elliptical machine or participate in a group sport.
Sculpt Your Muscles
As you age, you lose muscle tissue, which decreases your metabolism and can result in weight gain. Strength training on at least two days of the week can combat this and help you maintain and increase muscle mass. It also defines your muscles and shapes your body. For optimal muscle stimulation and after-burn affect, focus on working your large muscles including your glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps, chest and back. Exercises, such as dumbbell squats and lunges, bench presses and flyes, and bent-over dumbbell rows, are some examples. Always use challenging weights that are heavy enough so the last repetition of each set is difficult to finish.
Mix Things Up
Adding variation to your workout can prevent boredom and keep you challenged so you continue to see results. Incorporating high-intensity interval training, HIIT, and circuit training, for instance, can come in handy when you're cramped for time. You'll burn optimal calories during your workout, and also long after your workout. HIIT requires you go back and forth between short, moderate and vigorous bursts of cardio for about 15 minutes. For instance, move from a two-minute jog to a one-minute sprint. Circuit training requires that you set up several strength-training stations, or cardio- and strength-training stations, and work through them without resting in between the exercises. For instance, do one set of bent-over rows followed immediately by a set of lunges, shoulder presses, squats and pushups. If desired add a set of jumping jacks in between each exercise.
Just Exercising Is Not Enough
In addition to your exercise regimen, eating a healthy, well-balanced diet is essential to see results. To lose weight, reducing your caloric intake by 500 calories a day can help you lose one pound per week, because one pound of fat has 3,500 calories. Eating smaller portions and low-calorie foods can help with this. Fill up on healthy fare, such as lean protein, veggies, fruits, low-fat dairy and whole grains. Also, before changing your lifestyle, consult a doctor, especially if you're dealing with a health condition or injury.