What is something you do every day? Take steps. What is something you do almost every day? Take steps up stairs. These are mindless movements that we are programmed to do every single day. But as we get older, walking long distances and taking stairs unfortunately will get harder and harder. That is, unless we continue to TRAIN FOR LIFE. If we practice these movements and develop strong muscles and joints, maybe getting older won't mean getting harder to move around. We can prepare ourselves for our futures by adding functional movements into our daily routines, it's that easy! Allow me to talk about a super simple and effective exercise for this post. THE STEP UP is a compound exercise (any exercise that engages 2 or more different joints to fully stimulate entire muscle groups and multiple muscles) that works several muscles in your legs. It mimics real life movement making it more functional than other leg exercises. When doing step ups, you are working your quads and involving the knee and hip joints. The glutes, calves, and hamstrings assist in this movement as well. The low back and core muscles also get involved, as they act as stabilizers and help you maintain posture as you go through the movement. These are muscles we are mindlessly using every day!
- Find a box, couch, chair, bench, or ledge and step one foot onto it.
- Drive through the heel that is on the box, keeping your knee over your ankle, avoiding your knee going past the toe.
- Stand up on the box in standing position.
- Slowly step down from the box, keeping the knee over the ankle.
- Repeat step one, and then switch feet after you are done with your reps.
Take this exercise up a notch by holding weights in your hand, on your back, on your side, or over your head! Imagine those weights are grocery bags, or a briefcase, or a baby. Whatever it is you hold every day, this is it! TRAIN FOR LIFE!