5 Most Effective Exercises

5 Most Effective Exercises

No. 1: Walking

Why it's a winner: You can walk anywhere, anytime, either on a treadmill or with no equipment other than a good pair of shoes.

How to: Beginners should start by walking five to 10 minutes at a time, gradually moving up to at least 30 minutes per session. As you progress, lengthen the time of your walks before boosting your speed or incline.

No. 2: Interval Training

Why it's a winner: Adding interval training to your cardio workout can boost fitness, burn more calories, and help you lose weight. The basic idea: Vary the intensity of your aerobic workout to challenge your body instead of loafing in your comfort zone.

How to: Push up the pace for a minute or two, then back off for 2-10 minutes, depending on the length of your workout and how much time you need to recover. Do this throughout the workout.

No. 3: Squats

Why it's a winner: Squats work multiple muscle groups -- the quadriceps, hamstrings, and gluteals -- at the same time.

How to: Keep your feet shoulder-width apart and your back straight. Bend your knees and lower your rear as if you were sitting down in a chair, keeping your knees over your ankles. Do three sets of eight.

No. 4: Lunges

Why it's a winner: Like squats, lunges work all the major muscles of the lower body. Lunges also help improve your balance.

How to: Take a big step forward, keeping your spine straight. Bend your front knee to approximately 90 degrees. Keep weight on your back toes and drop the back knee toward the floor-- but don't let it touch the floor. Do three sets of eight

No. 5: Push-ups

Why it's a winner: Push-ups strengthen the chest, shoulders, triceps, and core muscles.

How to: Face-down, place hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Place toes or knees on the floor, creating a smooth line with your body, from shoulders to knees or feet. Keeping rear-end muscles and abdominals engaged, lower and lift your body by bending and straightening your elbows, keeping your torso stable throughout the move. Do two sets of twelve to begin.