Cardiovascular exercise is critical for burning calories and melting fat off your body as well as keeping your heart muscle healthy. Cardio exercise blasts off fat, shedding pounds. It also boosts your fitness level so you can do things like climb stairs without huffing and puffing. One of the best forms of cardio exercise is walking; it’s also one of the easiest! It’s great for your legs and relieving stress, but the reason I really love walking is that you can do it almost anywhere, and anyone can do it.
Toning exercises firm all the muscles in your body, including your abs, arms, buttocks, thighs, hips, chest, shoulders, and back. Toning through strength training, using both free weights and your own body weight, is also important for slimming down, because the more muscles you build, the more you boost your metabolism. Muscle demands more energy from your body than fat does. So the more muscle you add to your body, the more calories you’ll be burning throughout the day. In fact, studies show that for every pound of muscle you add, you automatically burn an extra thirty-five to fifty calories per day—and that’s while going about your normal activities. Even at rest, muscle burns almost twice as many calories as fat.
Warm-up Safety Tip: Remember, safety first! Make sure you do a good 5–10 minute warm up before starting. Do NOT start your warm up with static stretches such as reaching down to touch your toes. Stretching cold muscle can cause injuries, especially if you exercise right after you wake up. Do a few minutes of dynamic stretching exercises to help get you ready for high-intensity training. Mix up a variety of different workouts, so the training stays fun, fresh, and ultra-effective.