For Your Balance and Posture4. Instant Stabilizer
Next time you're waiting in line at the bank or grocery store, try this tai chi move to improve your balance, suggests wellness expert Scott Cole. The horse stance: Stand erect with feet parallel and shoulder-distance apart, then breathe in, exhale, slightly bend your knees, and settle down into your body. Focus your attention on a point two inches below your navel, and relax into your breathing for a few minutes. Do this on a daily basis, says Cole, and you will not only feel more balanced during other activities but also stave off joint problems and arthritis that may come with aging.
5. Bend and Snap
Your spine gets very unhappy slumping forward all day. Years of bad posture can lead to an aching back, an unflattering silhouette, and in time, nastier problems like compressed disks. To reverse the curve, Conrad Earnest, PhD, director of the Center for Human Performance at the Cooper Institute in Dallas, suggests standing up, placing your hands on your buttocks as if putting them in your back pockets (thumbs facing out), and then arching back just two inches or so (stretching any farther hyperextends your back; not a good thing). Hold five seconds, release, and repeat two more times. Try this every few hours, says Earnest: You'll feel better, and your back will be stronger and healthier for the long term.
6. Tummy Tuck
Who better than a professional belly dancer to tell us how to get those abs ready for midriff baring? Rania, creator of the video Cardio Shimmy, says you can do the "belly squeeze" at your desk, in the car, or in front of the TV. Take a deep breath and relax all your abdominal muscles, then exhale and pull them in as hard as you can, holding for several seconds. "Try to feel every muscle squeezing," says Rania. "This is something bodybuilders do to give their abs more definition. It really works the muscles." Aim for three sets of eight squeezes a day and you'll soon see results—and notice, no one said "sit-ups."
Next: Work your butt and legs
We Hear You!