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Hit it at home: Quick 15-minute workouts



Some days, getting to the gym seems like more effort than actually working out itself. But most of us can find the time to fit a 15-minute mini-workout into our days.

"Staying active is actually the answer to a lot of peopleís problems, and introducing daily activity can get your blood flowing, lube your muscles and help you look at life from an active perspective," says Anne Tremel, personal training director at Highlander Elite Fitness.

While there is no ideal 15-minute workout, Lori Schultz, program director at West Wood Health and Fitness Center in Pewaukee, suggests starting with stretching and moving on to some balance work

"People donít always consider these to be important components of a workout because their benefits arenít as apparent as doing cardio or lifting," she says. "You donít realize how important they are until you lose them."

She suggests stretches that target the major muscle groups, such as the gluts.

"This is an important stretch: Sit in a chair, cross your leg like a guy and lean forward," she says. "Do this on each side."

A good calf stretch only requires a step. With your heels hanging off the back of the step, slowly raise them until you feel your calves stretch.

"Whatever you are stretching, you never want to stretch to the point of pain," says Schultz. "If you feel pain, back it off. And the longer you can comfortably hold the stretch, the more benefit it will have."

As for balance work, Schultz says to challenge yourself appropriately.

"If youíre just starting out, it might just be as simple as walking on an imaginary line or backing up against the wall, closing your eyes and balancing on one foot," she says.

Tremel says that a 15-minute workout should include some strength work, such as Pilates, to target your core.

"Other good exercises that you can do at home include simple strength work, such as lunges and squats," she says. "For the upper body, add some wall or counter pushups, or even traditional floor pushups."

Another option is to allocate some time for aerobic activity. Most homes have a built-in, free aerobic trainer: A set of stairs. Tie on some shoes and run a few flights to get your heart working.