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3.07.2014

WOW –Workout of the Week: Step-ups

This week’s workout is step-ups. Step-ups are a great lower body exercise for strengthening your ankles, calf muscles, quads, hamstrings, and improving balance. Step-ups do require a step, but if there are no steps near you, a small stool or ledge around the house can work just as well. Here’s how to do them:

  • Start by standing in front of the step, with your feet about shoulder-width apart. You can place your arms down by your sides or put your hands on your hips—choose the option that is more comfortable for you.
  • Next, one foot at a time, step up onto the step, making sure you have a good center of balance.
  • With both feet up on the step, pause momentarily—then step down off the step with your opposite foot and then follow with the other foot, returning to the starting position.
  • Repeat this action,alternating the leading leg each time. Repeat for a total of 10 to 20 times per leg. Be sure to do an even amount for each leg.

Some things to keep in mind: Keep your body and back as straight as possible throughout the exercise to minimize stress on the lower back and maximize effort on the legs. Also, engage your core by tightening your stomach with each step you take.

For added difficulty, try holding weights in your hand. If you don’t have traditional weights, like dumbbells, try using a shopping bag with canned food inside.

We hope you’ll try step-ups over the weekend and then build this exercise into your daily routine Monday through Friday of the coming week. Try adding 5-10 step-ups to your fitness routine each day!

Want more fitness ideas?  If you’re a Health Advocate member with access to the Wellness Coaching program, reach out to your Wellness Coach for more healthy ideas to get—and stay—fit. And remember, talk to your doctor before beginning any new fitness regimen.