You're truly never too young or too old to protect your heart. "The buildup of plaque in your arteries can silently start as early as your late teens and early 20s," explains Jennifer H. Mieres, M.D., professor of cardiology and population health and senior vice president, office of community and public health, at the North Shore-LIJ health system. Lower your odds of developing heart disease by keeping an eye on these key factors and lifestyle habits in your 30s, 40s, 50s, and beyond.See More
Tighten and tone your hips, thighs, and buns with this leg-strengthening workout.
1. Stand with feet together and hold a light medicine ball (4 -- 8 pounds) with both hands overhead.
2. Step forward with your left foot into a lunge, lower your arms (don't lock your elbows) in front of you at chest height, then twist your arms and torso to the left as you contract your right oblique muscles (squeeze your right glute as you turn). Twist back to center, step back to starting position and repeat with other leg. Do 10 reps on each leg.
1. Balance on left foot and extend right leg in front of you as you bend your knee and lower into a squat with your left leg (touch the wall or a chair for support if needed). Keep your hands straight out in front of you. Toes should be a few inches off the floor. This is the front reach. Stand up.
2. Squat again, but this time extend the right leg to the side and hold. This is the side reach. Stand up.
3. Finally, squat again and extend right leg straight behind you. This is the back reach. Stand up.
1. Stand on a step with the inside of your right foot at the edge, left foot suspended in the air. Put your hands on your hips.
2. Squat down (try to keep right knee from extending past your toes) and lower left foot until it's almost touching the floor, keeping the foot flat. For extra support, keep one hand on a wall or a chair.
Perform three sets of 10 -- 12 reps on each leg.
1. Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, hands interlaced behind the head. Lower into a squat, keeping your chest high.
2. In one quick movement, shoot off the tips of your toes and jump into the air. Return to starting position.
Perform 15 -- 20 reps.
1. Stand with an exercise band around your ankles and adjust it so it's taut when your feet are hip-width apart.
2. Step out with your right foot on a diagonal. Bring your left foot out to meet your right. Then step out with your left foot on a diagonal and bring your right to meet your left. Take 20 wide steps in this manner, then reverse, taking 20 wide steps backwards.
1. Lie on the floor face down with your legs straight, forehead resting on the back of your stacked hands. Bend right knee 90 degrees, toes pointing toward the ceiling.
2. Lift your left thigh off the floor, squeezing your left glute. Hold for six seconds, then lower and repeat.
Perform 15 -- 20 reps on each leg.
1. Stand arm's length away from chair. Bend forward from the hips, face down until your torso is parallel to the floor. Hold the chair for balance and keep your abs pulled in to support your lower back.
2. Extend left leg behind you, slightly to the left of center, pointing your toe at hip height (avoid locking right knee). Lift up leg and hold for 1 count. Return to starting position.
Do two sets of 20 lifts; repeat with right leg.
1. Stand next to a sturdy chair and hold with hands for balance. Looking forward, bend left knee back 90 degrees, toes pointed. Keep right knee slightly bent.
2. Pull your abs in, drop your tailbone slightly, and press left leg directly back behind you. Hold for 1 count, then release.
Do two sets of 20 lifts. Repeat with right leg.
1. Get in a plank position, holding your torso up with both hands extended straight onto a step, legs stretched out behind with your weight resting on your toes. Keep your head aligned with your spine, looking slightly down.
For a modified version, click to the next slide.
2. Lift right leg off the ground and extend out to side about 12 inches. Return to starting position in center.
Perform 8 -- 12 reps on each leg.
1. Get in a modified plank position holding your torso up with both hands extended straight onto a mat and resting on your knees. Keep your knees bent, with your feet raised behind facing up. Keep your head aligned with your spine, looking slightly down.
2. Kick out right leg off the ground and extend out to side about 12 inches. Return to starting position in center.
Perform 8 -- 12 reps on each leg.
1. Stand up with feet positions about 2 feet wider than your hips, toes angled out. Hold your arms straight out in front of you and grasp your hands.
2. Slowly, bend your knees and lower your hips until thighs are parallel to the floor. If needed, grasp the back of a chair for support. Keep torso upright with abs tight. Contract your glutes for 10 seconds. Stand up and rest. Do two more sets of 10-second holds.