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If you're a stay-at-home mom, a career woman, or a mix of both, nearly everyone wishes to improve their health. Along with a healthy diet, a good workout session can help stave off a whole bevy of health problems. If you don't have time to get to the gym, there are many simple exercises you can do that'll improve both your cardiovascular function and your strength. These exercises for women can help you lose weight and increase your energy levels, so there are plenty of good reasons to get active.

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Squats

Squats can be an excellent way to start any exercise routine. They don't require any equipment. Squats are easy to do whenever you have a few spare moments. To start, stand with your feet apart, parallel with your hips. Then, bend your knees to a 90-degree angle, making sure your butt stays level and pushed out behind you. Stand back up, then repeat. It's important not to overdo squats, which will work the muscles in your calves, thighs, and butt. Start off doing them for a full minute, then gradually increase your workout length over an extended period of time. Remember, exercise shouldn't hurt you. If you're experiencing anything more than a tiny bit of discomfort, consult your doctor before continuing with your regime.

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Planks

Planks are an essential workout tool perfect for completion on any flat surface. To begin, lay face down on the ground. Prop yourself up by placing your forearms and palms flat on the ground. Bend your arms with your elbows at a 90-degree angle underneath your shoulders. Your legs should be fully extended, balancing on your toes. Extend your right leg, pushing up and straightening it. Then repeat with the left leg. Lower yourself into starting position one leg at a time, then repeat. Alternate legs each time and continue for two or three minutes. In addition to stretching your leg muscles, this exercise will tone your arms and shoulders. Remember to focus on your breath. Your breathing shouldn't be labored during planks. If you struggle with this posture, modify the exercise and lift your legs to a lesser degree to reap the benefits.

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Wall Squats

Wall squats are a variation on regular squats and are easy to do discretely. Stand with your back directly against a wall. Then slowly slide down until your knees are even with your hips, forming a 90-degree angle. Your feet should be flat on the floor, and shoulder-width apart. Hold this position for 30 seconds. You should feel stretching in your calves and thighs as you hold yourself in place. After 30 seconds, stand back up. You can increase the time of this stretch to two minutes. Be careful to keep your limitations in mind as you begin the process of improving your fitness levels. If you struggle to hold the pose for 30 seconds, start with ten to 15 seconds and slowly increase the time in the pose.

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Hip Raises

Two of the most common trouble spots for women who are trying to lose weight are the stomach and the butt. Hip raises target both of these areas at once. To do these, lie flat on the ground and bend your knees. Make sure you're keeping the soles of your shoes on the ground. Then, raise your hips up in the air until your body is forming a mountain-peak shape. Your torso should be in a straight line with your upper legs, all the way to the knees. Hold this position for at least three seconds, then release. Start with ten reps and gradually increase over time. Again, if you're struggling to achieve this pose feel free to modify it with a pillow (or yoga block) tucked under your hips to aid in the elevation of your torso.

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Stair Climbing

One of the best exercises for the leg and glute muscles is stair climbing. This can be done in most locations since many homes and offices have stairs. Although it sounds simple, try taking the stairs whenever possible to get extra cardio exercise into your daily routine. For an introductory workout routine, climb and descend a flight of stairs five to10 times. It's prudent to begin by working your way up to more repetitions as your muscle tone increases. Another alternative is step aerobics. You can purchase stackable steps at most exercise retailers. Step on and off the step for 15 minutes, using a steady beat to guide your movement.

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Cardio Intervals

Cardio intervals are a great way to take your regular walk and step it up a notch. Begin walking as you normally would, at about 50 percent of your effort capacity. After five minutes, ramp up your energy level to 75 percent for 30 seconds. Then, use 100 percent of your energy for 15 seconds. Return to your original effort output after your burst of maximum power. This workout allows you to ramp up your cardio efforts without tiring you out. Over time, you'll notice your capacity to exert yourself has increased overall.

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Dumbbell Lunges

Dumbbell lunges are an easy way to tone your hips and legs, as well as your abs. Traditional lunges are a good alternative if you don't have the equipment handy for dumbbell lunges. To do lunges with dumbbells, you only need one free weight. You can use a lighter weight and work up to higher weights over time. Holding the weight in one hand, curl your arm so that the forearm and upper arm are parallel to each other. Then, make sure the weight is above your shoulder. Then, take a step forward so that your knee is at a 90-degree angle and your other leg is kneeling on the floor. Start with ten reps on each leg and increase as necessary.

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Yoga

Yoga is almost 5000 years old. This fantastic set of Asanas with a focus on breath and clearing the mind have been helping people maintain and develop their physical and mental health for millennia. There are a variety of different types of yoga. Yoga can help you battle the adverse effects of stress, emotional overload, and help increase your physical fitness levels. Even if you don't consider yourself to be very flexible, yoga is more accessible than it looks. All you need is a mat for comfort, so it's also relatively inexpensive. The poses are modifiable for individuals who cannot assume the traditional asanas. Most gyms and community centers offer beginning yoga classes that can help you to learn the basics, but it's also easy to teach yourself. Yoga has many essential health benefits, including strengthening the core muscles. It can help to improve balance, making it an especially effective method of exercise for busy women. Remember to wear loose clothing and drink plenty of water, even though it might not seem as physically exerting as other popular exercises.

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Chest Presses

It's important to find a balance between upper and lower body exercises. Chest presses can help you round-out your routine. These can be done in your home or at the gym, and require minimal equipment. Lie down on a flat, stiff surface like a bench. Hold a dumbbell in each hand. Then, lift your feet up until your knees form a 90-degree angle. Your thighs should be perpendicular to your torso. Then, extend your arms until your elbows are straight. Afterward, gradually turning your palms inward until the weights are touching. Reverse the motion and lower your arms, then repeat. Start with 15 reps, and slowly work up to more over time.

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Go for a Walk

Most of the exercises on this list are simple and quick enough to make them an excellent choice for busy women, but if you can't squeeze in the time for some aerobics, at least get out and walk. Set aside half an hour each day to take a briskly-paced walk or use the treadmill. Visit a park or a shopping mall, or even loop around the block a few times. Your heart will thank you for it, since getting thirty minutes of exercise every day has been shown to reduce cardiovascular disease. For extra motivation, find a friend or co-worker to join you. Walking just 20 minutes a day can help you lose weight, increase cardiovascular health, and help improve your mental state. If you can't walk 20 minutes at first, start with five or ten minutes and increase the length of your stroll over an extended period. The most important thing to remember is to find a physical activity that you genuinely enjoy. Exercise shouldn't be a punishment or painful. The best way to solidify a habit is to set humble goals that are achievable every day.

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Disclaimer

This site offers information designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on any information on this site as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or as a substitute for, professional counseling care, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other healthcare professional.