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STEPHANIE OAKES

Uphill Walks Can Help in Trimming Down Rear End

February 26, 2001|STEPHANIE OAKES

Question: I really want to firm up my rearview for spring break in Mexico, but I can't run or do any high-impact exercise. What do you recommend?

--R.R.

Chatsworth

Answer: Why don't you just walk? The American Council on Exercise's recent survey of more than 36,000 certified fitness professionals found that walking up hills (on a treadmill or outside) is one of the most recommended ways to tone and strengthen the gluteals.

Try walking with a slight incline three times a week for 30 minutes along with two days of weight training. When you weight train, focus on the primary strength exercise for hips and gluteus--the squat. Squats will shape and tone your lower body; the key is to descend until the tops of your thighs are parallel to the floor, while keeping your heels on the floor and maintaining the natural arch in your lower back. (Use a light weight until you develop the correct form.)

This deeper squat builds muscle faster and is safer for your knees than a squat in which you stop before your thighs are parallel to the floor. When you cut a squat short, you turn your knees into brakes. And you know what happens to brakes: They wear out.

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Stephanie Oakes is the fitness correspondent for Discovery Health Channel and a health and fitness consultant. To submit a fitness-related question, e-mail stephoakes@aol.com. She cannot respond to every query.

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