For those of you who are just starting to work out or want to try something different, walking may be key. Check out this Walking Program, compliments of Family Circle Magazine and the American Heart Association.

Walk It Off: Tone Your Trouble Spots
By Margit Feury Ragland

It’s getting warmer, and we’ll soon be wearing less and revealing more. That means it’s time to add some strengthening moves to your daily walk. Try this workout every other day and eat right, and in a month you’ll whittle your waistline, define those arms, shrink your backside, and shed about 8 pounds.

Our Body-Slimming Plan
A 30-minute workout
5-minute warm-up: Walk at a comfortable pace.

Speed it up: You can talk but only in short sentences.

Tone your arms:

Bench dips: Sit on a park bench, scoot your butt forward, and grab onto the seat. Slowly bend your elbows and drop your body downward until your triceps are parallel to the ground. Return to your starting position. Repeat 20 to 30 times.

Bench push-ups: Stand a few feet behind a park bench. Grab hold of the back of the bench with straight arms. Tuck your bottom in and think of yourself as a plank of wood. Bend your arms and slowly lower your body toward your hands. Repeat 20 to 30 times.

Pick Up the Pace
Quick steps: Return to your walk, moving briskly.

Tighten your tush:

Walking lunges: Slow down your walking speed and take a big step with your right leg. Lower your body down until your right knee is at a 90-degree angle. Pull shoulders back and tighten abs. Push off with your left leg and keep moving forward as you then lunge into the left leg. Repeat 20 to 30 times.

Calf raises: Find a curb or stable step. Stand so the backs of your feet are hanging off the edge of the step. Slowly drop heels down below the level of the step. Then, just as slowly, push all the way up onto your toes. Hold on to a railing or the back of a chair for balance, if necessary. Do 20 to 30 reps.

If these calf raises start to feel too easy, try doing them while balancing on just one foot.

Push it: You can hear your breath as you walk.

Cool-down: Slowly bring your breathing back to normal.

Flatten that belly — you can do these on a rug in your home:

Scissor kicks: Lie on your back with your hands under your hips and buttocks. Keep your head on the floor. Raise your legs straight up in the air so your toes are pointed to the ceiling. Contract your abs and scissor your legs one over the other as you lower your legs down toward the floor. Keep your lower back on or at least close to the ground. Scissor down for a count of 8 and then back up for a count of 8. Repeat 10 to 15 times.

Plank: Lie face-down resting on your forearms. Push up onto your toes — your body should be in a straight line from your head to your ankles. Contract your abdominals to prevent your rear end from sticking up in the air. Hold for 20 to 60 seconds. Lower and repeat 3 to 5 times.

Source: Originally published in the April 1, 2009, issue of Family Circle magazine.

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