Building a Better Body After 40 (Really!)

Here’s a road map to doing it all (and doing it right): perfect toners, best stretches, essential supplements, injury-proofers.

By Holly St. Lifer

As a result, each move incorporates more muscles and works them in all three planes of motion (forward, backward, lateral), so you burn more calories and shape up in less time than with conventional workouts. These moves also focus on core strengthening and balance. This series can stand in as a total body workout if you can’t do your usual routine. And if you’re new to weight lifting and don’t have a routine, this is a great way to start. Do the series in order three times, resting for two minutes between each round. You’ll be done in less than 10 minutes. All you need is a pair of 5- to 10-pound weights.

Upward punch: Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent, holding hand weights at shoulder height. Press upward with right arm, straightening elbow, then lower back to shoulder height. Press upward with left arm, straightening elbow. Continue punching motion, alternating arms, five times on each side.

Cross punch: Stand with feet wider than shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent. Hold the hand weights at shoulder height. Pivot to the right, pressing right arm in front of chest, straightening elbow. Return to start; repeat with left side. Continue punching and pivot motion, alternating arms, five times on each side.

Downward punch: Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent. Bend both arms to position hand weights at shoulder height. Lean forward slightly from the hips, keeping back straight. Press right arm down toward floor, straightening elbow; return to start. Repeat with left arm. Continue punching motion, alternating arms, five times on each side.

Side-reaching lunge: Stand with feet hip-width apart, feet parallel, holding hand weights at sides. Step sideways with your left leg, keeping feet parallel and bending left knee. Keeping back straight, bend forward from the hips and reach weights to laces of left shoe. Step back to start and repeat to right. Continue stepping to side, alternating legs, five times on each side.

Front-reaching lunge: Stand upright, feet hip-width apart, holding hand weights by sides. Step forward with your left leg into a lunge position, so left knee forms a 90-degree angle. Keeping back straight, bend forward from the hips and reach weights toward the laces of left foot, allowing right knee to bend. Step back to start; repeat on right side. Do five times on each leg.

Back-reaching lunge: Stand with feet hip-width apart, knees slightly bent, feet parallel, holding hand weights at sides. Step backward on a slight diagonal with left leg, bending left knee once foot is flat. Keeping your back straight, bend forward from hips and reach weights to laces of left shoe. Return to start, repeat to right side. Continue lunging, alternating sides, five times on each side.

Originally published in MORE magazine, March 2005.

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