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Power Up Your Walk
If you've been anywhere near a gym lately, you've probably heard the word "core". Targeting the abs and back, core work develops supple muscles and decreases the risk of injuries. It also improves athletic performance and eases lower back pain, according to a 2008 review from the University of Colorado School of Medicine. You can easily slip in a little core conditioning while you're walking, says Michelle Demus, program director at New York's Pure Yoga studio. Take a deep inhalation, then, with a strong exhalation, pull in your navel toward your spine; hold for a count of five, and release. Do this 10 times while you're walking, take a short rest, and do two more sets. Another way to add core conditioning to your walk is to throw in a few lunges: Keeping the spine long and abdominals engaged, step about 3 feet forward with the right foot—the knee must stay directly above the ankle—and draw the left foot up, so you're balancing on the right leg for a moment. Repeat with the other foot.