I turn 35 this month, and though my smile lines are getting deeper all the time, I feel so good. I'm having fun with my husband and our kids, and I have my mom and two grandmothers to remind me that growing older isn't all bad. They're the strongest, most beautiful women even now, and I know their secret: Just take care of yourself.
I know what you're thinking — Sure, that's easy for a trainer! — but it's never too late to start, and you don't have to exercise for hours to look and feel younger. In fact, you can do this workout in as little as 10 minutes, and it's super-effective. Here's why: Resistance training builds muscle and strengthens your bones. When you add bursts of cardio, you'll also trigger a release of growth hormone, which can keep you feeling lean and energized but decreases naturally as you age. Amazing, right?
Try doing two to three sets of each exercise, with 30 high knees in between, before moving on to the next one. (High knees are like jogging in place, but you want to drive your knees toward your chest.) Do this routine three days a week, and pretty soon everyone's going to want to know your secret.
Don't shy away from squats if your joints are feeling achy. When you squat properly, it'll actually strengthen your knees.
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, toes pointed out slightly; hold a set of 5- to 10-pound dumbbells at shoulder height. Lower into a squat, drawing your hips back and down until they sit just below your knees. Press through your heels and return to standing. Do 15 reps.
2. PRINCESS LUNGE
The curtsy in this move helps improve coordination and balance — so essential as you age.
Holding a set of dumbbells, stand with your feet together. Take a big step back with your left foot, bringing it directly behind your right (like a curtsy); bend your knees, gently touching the back one to the ground. Press through your right heel and return to standing. Do 10 reps; switch sides.
3. BRIDGE UP
This exercise strengthens your glutes, quads, hamstrings, and abs — muscles that surround your hips and lower back, shielding them from injury.
Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet hip-width apart, arms down by your sides. Squeeze your glutes and push your lower back into the floor; press through your heels as you slowly raise your hips toward the ceiling. Hold for only a second, then lower your hips back down to the ground. Do 15 reps.
4. KETTLEBELL SWING
It's magic for your posterior chain, the muscles in your back and core that give you good posture, and can help prevent that dreaded hump.
Stand with your feet spread wide and your back rigid; hold a kettlebell or dumbbell in front of you. Bend your knees slightly and lean forward at the hips; then, keeping your arms and back straight, swing the weight back through your legs and up as high as you can, lengthening your body at the top of the move. Continue swinging for 10 reps.
5. PLANK RISERS
Planks are a mom's best friend: They target your transverse abdominis, the inner abs that wrap your entire core, cinching your waist even as you hit middle age.
Get into a forearm plank, elbows aligned with your shoulders; draw your belly button toward your spine and squeeze your glutes so your body is parallel with the ground. Lift your right arm and plant your palm on the ground, then do the same with your left arm, ending in a push-up position. Lower back down, first with your right arm, then the left. Do 10 reps, alternating sides.