I am a huge fan of quick and effective exercises that incorporate lots of muscle groups. That is why I love lunges. I personally have been adding them back into my work outs to get a little bit more toning and added strength.
Lunges are a great exercise for athletes of all skill levels. This exercise uses your own body weight to strengthen your legs by working your quads, hamstrings, calves and glutes. It will also help tone your core (especially helpful for runners).
These are especially awesome for older adults. As we age, the most important area of your body to keep strengthening is the lower body. Older adults are more susceptible to falls, causing broken hips or legs. Sarcopenia is age related muscle loss. This can be very detrimental to one’s health and once you have taken a bad fall, it is hard to get your body back to its original strength. Therefore, it is recommended for older adults to do lower body strengthening exercises at least three times per week. As an added benefit, doing lunges improves your balance, helping you avoid falls in the first place.
A few pointers when doing lunges: Make sure you keep your back straight with your head facing forward. Keep your shoulders and hips in line with each other. As you step forward and bend, make sure you avoid allowing your knee to go out past your ankle.
Most importantly take your time!
I am a firm believer that there are exercises for everyone’s schedules. I recommend doing these in a set of 20 lunges. If that is too much for you start at 10. Try doing 8 sets in the morning as you get ready or while watching TV at night. It will take less than 10 minutes for you to get all your sets in and you will notice the results soon. Be prepared for some achy legs the first few days of doing these. Remember, that means they are working.
Below are some examples of how to do lunges. For beginners or older adults you can use a chair to help maintain your balance. Once you feel comfortable, you can do it without the balance assistance with your hands at your hips or at your side. To make it even harder and for some extra burn, add some free weights. Just don’t overload the weights, as you do not want to strain your knee.