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Today’s Workout column: Deep lunge helps you slow down

Marlo Alleva
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Marlo Alleva demonstrates a deep slow lunge with arms overhead.

Rush! Rush! Rush! Seems to be the name of the game this time of year ...

With all the things that must be done, our time is limited and we forget to slow down from time to time to keep our sanity. And the best way to do that is with exercise.

Our move today is a deep slow lunge with arms overhead. All you need for this exercise is a clear flat space. This move will be working your complete lower body and focusing on balance as well.

Begin this exercise by standing tall, holding your chest up and engaging your abdominals. Start by stepping back into your lunge with one foot giving yourself a wide split stance. Keeping the midsection strong, extend both arms straight up overhead, reaching your fingertips to the sky. Begin to bend both knees, lowering your body as low as you can without touching the ground. Keep this movement extremely slow and focus on every tiny move. Be mindful to keep the front knee position behind your front toes, and keep your weight in the front heel and your back toe.

Once you reach your deepest position, proceed to slowly push yourself back up to the start.

Now, you can continue either on the same leg, or switch to the opposite side. Either way, shoot for at least 10 lunges per set, giving yourself at least three to five sets. You may find that it is easier to balance and hold a good position if you keep the movement on one side for a whole set.

If you need intensity, you can hold a set of light hand weights in each hand, continuing to hold your arms straight up overhead. And if you find that your balance is compromised with both hands overhead, you can hold onto a countertop or chair back with one hand, keeping your other arm extended up while lunging.

Whether you choose this slow deep lunge on its own or add it into your regular fitness, this exercise will force you to slow down and focus on all the important muscles of your lower body, giving you that extra stamina to carry you through the whole holiday season.

Marlo Alleva, an instructor at Gold’s Gym and group fitness coordinator at Fontaine-Gills YMCA in Lakeland, Florida, can be reached at faluvzpa@msn.com.