Spring into motion and reap the rewards

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Spring cleaning is not an aerobic sport, but it does burn up the calories, challenge the muscles and give you a good reason to stretch.

The more focus you bring to your springtime chores cleaning the windows, getting rid of unused items, sweeping the sidewalk the more benefits you will realize. Keep in mind: Building strength and developing flexibility aren't just things you work on when you're at the gym or paying a trainer.

If you want a healthier lifestyle, you need to become more aware of how you can work more effort, more motion, more enjoyment, into every physical activity you do. Whether it's walking the dog, mowing the lawn or washing the car, do it in a way that involves your breath, your posture, the conscious tensing and relaxing of certain muscles. Be playful.

Enjoy yourself. Pump those smile muscles. Be happy and grateful you are physically and mentally able to do the chores you have to do.

Inner ab exercises that work!

Ab training is in. More and more people are realizing that strengthening your abdominal muscles isn't just about looking better at the beach. It's at the very core of how we carry our body, prevent backache and move gracefully through life.

Yoga is a great way to focus on your core strength, as is Pilates. Elizabeth Larkham, a spokesperson for the American Council on Exercise who specializes in ab training, says, "I recommend you perform specific abdominal training exercises every day."

The exercises she recommends involve muscle contractions that can be performed while you're sitting, standing, driving or lying down. As you read Larkham's description of the ab exercises, create a clear picture in your mind of what she's talking about. Remember, the quality of the move is much more important than the quantity. Move slowly, stay focused. It will make a huge difference in getting the results you want!

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