Getting a 20-minute summer shape-up

Jessica Matthews
Jessica Matthews

(MEDSTAR) - Putting a bathing suit on after a long winter can be a bit of a shock. So with summer approaching, an expert has tips on how to get a beach-worthy body fast.

A summer wardrobe reveals a lot more skin. And that means a lot more people will soon be hitting the gym.

"Warm weather, we're wearing shorts, tank tops. So it's a great motivator," said Jessica Matthews is a fitness expert with the American Council on Exercise.

We asked Matthews for some emergency summer shape up tips.

"Devoting 20 minutes to strength training, two to three days a week is a great place to start," Matthews said. "And really focus on selecting exercises to target the various major muscle groups of the body."

Matthews says to start with your lower half. the forward lunge will firm up the legs, thighs, abs and buttocks.

Moving on up the body, push ups will tone the upper body - arms, chest and shoulders. Matthews says an exercise nicknamed "bird dog" is great for your core - those muscles that support your belly and back.

"Aim to complete one set of 8 to 12 repetitions of each exercise," said Matthews.

You can increase the number when you feel comfortable. If you want to lose weight, an hour jog - indoor or out - can do wonders. If you're short on time, try 30 minutes of interval training.

"Running for one minute, alternating it with walking for a minute and then repeating that cycle for whatever duration you've devoted to that exercise," Matthews said.

By the time summer rolls around, those rolls around your tummy could be gone.

For more on strength, interval and cardio training, visit the American Council on Exercise website.

Fast facts:

  • Adults should get at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise a day, at least five days a week.
  • 60 percent of American adults don't get the recommended levels of physical exercise.
  • To get the body in shape for bathing suit season, combine strength training, interval training and cardio/aerobic exercises.

For general exercise tips:

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