After having 3 kids and nearing 40, I realized that I need to tone up my muscles in my arms, abs, and thighs. I have decided that I am not going to grow old gracefully and for about a month, I have been doing several exercises that do not take very long to do but are effective.
The first exercise that I have been doing is for my abs. They are called planks and side planks. To do a regular plank, you must get into the same position that you would to do a push-up but instead of lowering yourself down, you rest on your elbows and simply stay in that position for a count of 60. You must keep your body in a straight line so your back has to be level. Focus on your abs. In the beginning, you may not be able to do 60, so just do what you can and try to improve on that the next day.
Another exercise for your your abs is the side plank. This exercise works on your love handles and gives your waist a nicer definition. Again, you can rest on your elbow for a count of 60 on each side. If you can hold it for 60, then do whatever you can to start. Ensure that you hold your body straight and use your ab muscles to do so.
To tone my buttocks and thighs, I do squats. Right now, I do 30 squats twice a day but I am working towards 40. To do a squat, spread your feet apart then lower your body as if you were going to sit in a chair. Keep all of the weight on your ankles so that you do not injure your knees. Lift your body up and down in this position and you will quickly feel the muscles in your butt and thighs working. Click on the link below to watch a video on the proper way to do squats.
The last exercise that I do is push-ups to build my arm muscles. I am at 25 a day and hope to progress to 30 a day soon.
The key to noticing a difference is to do these exercises everyday. Also, you will get faster results if you watch what you eat and do cardio exercises such as brisk walking or jogging. As I said earlier, I have been doing these exercises for about a month and my abs are slightly more defined and my buttocks and thighs feel firmer. I am hoping to be in top shape for bathing suit season!