We can give no more excuses about exercise now. A 90 year old woman in Illinois, who has 30 grandchildren, plays tennis, and is so good she is nicknamed “Tiger.”  The Associated Press reported that Mary Jane Murphy has played doubles more than twice a week for 30 years and “is a formidable foe on the court, serving, slicing, smashing, and putting some spin on that tennis ball.” 

When she was asked if she is a little bit aggressive, she said she likes to win.

Don’t you just love the mental picture of this little old lady whacking a yellow tennis ball with a gleam in her eye at her opponent?  I thought this was hilarious and really, the whole situation makes me feel absolutely lazy! 

Maybe tennis isn’t our sport, but we can do something, even at home. We all know exercise is an important part of our lives, yada yada.  Staying in shape keeps you healthy and increases your life expectancy. Weight bearing exercises increase your muscle mass and bone density as you age. For women especially, bone loss is a problem. Any woman of any size, age, race, or health, can have bone loss. When the body needs calcium, it can rob it from your bones and cause osteoporosis.

Most of us know what to do when it comes to exercising, but the problem is where and when to get the job done.  It’s a challenge making time to exercise.  We can pray and ask God to help us fit regular exercise into our day. Here’s a few toning exercises we can do to help get you and me started:

1. The Bridge Butt Lift – We women complain about our “big butts.” This is an easy way to tone that bottom!  Lay down with your feet flat on the floor, with your legs shoulder width apart.  Place your hands, palm side down, on either side of your body.  Push with your feet, squeeze your gluteal muscles, and lift your butt off of the floor.  Hold for a count of 5 to 10 and release. It burns, burns!

2. Squats – Squats work the butt too, and the hamstrings (back thigh muscles behind the knee) and the quadriceps (thighs).  If you aren’t sure how to do this correctly, you can use a chair.  Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and feet firmly planted.  Push your butt back like you’re about to sit in a chair.  Keep your abs tight (what abs?) and your upper body straight.  Once you reach chair level, stop and hold  for a count of 2 to 5 and release.  At the lowest point, place all of your weight on your heels for balance and the maximum toning. 

3. Reverse Lunges – Lunges work the quadriceps muscles.  Ok, for people with knee problems, this can be hard!  Stand with your feet together and your arms at your sides.  Take one leg and move it backwards until you are in a lunge position. Your front leg is bent at a 90 degree angle and your back leg is extended until you’re on the ball of your foot.  You can lower your knee to the floor. Hold for a count of 2 and go back to your starting position.

4. Pushups – This is great for those arms that tend to get so flabby as we grow older. If you aren’t comfortable or strong enough to do a pushup on your toes, do what is called a “girl” pushup, although you might get flack for doing a girl push-up in the blogosphere.  To do a “girl” push-up, lower your body to your knees.  Whether you do a “girl” push-up or a “real” one, keep your back straight as you go down to the ground and lift.

5. Crunches – Ohhh, these are so hard!  You can work your abs every day to build strength and muscle tone.  Lying on the floor in sit up position, lace your fingers behind your head.  Squeeze your abdominal muscles, lift your upper body until your lower back is about to come off the floor.  Hold for 2 to 5 counts and go back to start (if you could actually do it!) 🙂

These five exercise moves can be done whenever you have time.  The best thing about exercise is that its effects are cumulative, and even 5 to 10 minutes at a time will be good for you.  Let’s just do something, and get up from our computer chair, couch, or bed! God didn’t intend for us to live sedentary lives, but to move. My zumba class is tomorrow night, whooo!

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