Every year, you decide you're going to get in shape. You map out a plan, you swear you're going to stick to it--but soon your motivation fizzles. Why? You're viewing your workouts as work instead of fun! "If you don't find enjoyment in your exercise, you won't do it," says certified trainer, coach and Wellcoaches (wellcoaches.com) faculty member Kate Larsen. "But there are so many ways to exercise, you never need to do things you hate." Instead, says Larsen, look at being active as an opportunity. Don't think of it as: I have to exercise. Think of it as: I get to exercise. Along with adopting a more positive mind-set, Larsen recommends exploring playful ways to be active. In this exclusive workout, she shows you how to do just that. "These movements are childlike and simple, yet effective," Larsen says. Along with the strength moves, we offer "6 Sneak-It-In Toning Tips" to help you get even more sculpted, plus a variety of ways to make your aerobic activity enjoyable. Put it all together, and you might even look forward to exercise -- and stay motivated for many years to come.
how it works
You can string these moves together into one total-body workout, or be more playful and pick one or two moves to do each day -- what Larsen calls "energy or activity breaks." Make a game out of it; for instance, place the equipment in various rooms in your house and do an exercise each time you see the equipment. For strengthening and toning purposes, however, do each exercise listed at least twice a week, either solo or as part of the complete workout. See each move for rep recommendations.
Before doing the complete workout, begin with a 2- to 5-minute ball bounce: Sit on a stability ball, knees bent and aligned with ankles, feet flat on floor, hands resting on thighs. Bounce gently, staying on ball but moving your hips and arms from side-to-side as you bounce, for example. Finish your warm-up with "Bend and Lift": Stand behind stability ball, then bend your knees in a squat, pick ball up and raise it above your head, straightening legs. Squat, placing ball back on floor; repeat 6Ã‚â€“8 times.
After your workouts -- or whenever you like -- drape your body facedown over a stability ball, kneeling on floor. Allow your knees to remain bent, or straighten, depending on what feels most comfortable. Stay in this position for as long as you like, then turn over and lie with ball supporting your back, again with body draped over ball, arms and legs straight.
Aim to get enough cardio activity to burn approximately 1,000 calories a week. See "Don't-call-it-cardio calorie blasters" for fun and effective ways to reach this goal.