This is another post in our series of Fitness Saturday exercises—workouts appropriate to women in the second half of life. Personal trainer Brooke Marrone, president and founder of Brooke Marrone Fitness, in New York City, is our fitness guru.

We continue to celebrate American Heart Month with our exercise of the week, the Step-Up! The Step-Up is a fantastic, functional exercise that is great for increasing strength and stability in your lower body and improving your heart health. It is a fact that a little bit of exercise is better than none, so get up and get moving and you’ll decrease your risk of heart disease with every step that you take.

  1. Pick a step, bench, or chair that is at a height that you are comfortable stepping onto. If you have bad knees, start with a low step and work your way into a more challenging height.
  1. Stand up tall with your feet shoulder-width apart. Keep your shoulders back, abs in, and place your right foot on the step, making sure that your entire foot is flat and secure.
  1. Push your body straight up from your right heel, as if you are putting your head to the ceiling. Try not to lean your weight forward into your knees and toes as you place your left foot up next to your right. 
  1. Step back down with your right foot, bringing you into your starting position with both feet on the floor. Do this 10 times with both the right and the left leg.

The primary muscles worked in the Step-Up are the quadriceps and the gluteus maximus and hamstrings (the big muscles in the front and back of your body).

Modifications: To increase the difficulty of this exercise, use a higher step, box, or chair. You can also increase the resistance by performing the exercise holding a set of dumbbells in each hand.

 

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