Updated: August 26, 2011

to your health

At this point in life, the quest for a sleek and sexy physique typically trumps long-term health concerns. But there are so many reasons, beyond looking good, to exercise. Both cardio and strength training will keep your body burning calories efficiently, so you won't just be trim and toned, you'll be greatly reducing your risk for obesity-related conditions such as heart disease and diabetes. Those aren't just ailments for old folks: "Type 2 diabetes, once thought of as a disease for middle-aged adults, now affects teenagers and even children," says certified trainer Joy Prouty. "You can't afford to delay taking care of your body until you're 40." The patterns you establish now are key to setting you up for a lifetime of good habits.

cardio complement

Perform a cardio workout 4-6 times a week. Push yourself, but be aware of the signs of overtraining, such as fatigue, difficulty sleeping, joint or muscle discomfort and more than your share of colds. "Doing step aerobics 6 times a week can do long-term damage," Prouty cautions. Mix up low- and high-impact training to prevent overuse injuries.

why target moves work

These moves focus on core stability -- the cornerstone to better posture, control and performance for every activity you do -- as well as lower-body strength. Develop muscles that are strong and balanced now, and you'll see the payoffs as you age.

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