Exercise challenge:

In the May issue, Dr. Beth Frates, clinical assistant professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation at Harvard Medical School, recommended three easy exercises to help you start building your muscle strength. If you followed through over the past few months, you may be ready for a new workout to help you continue your progress.

Like the first batch of exercises, which included push-ups, planks, and reverse lunges, these new exercises are designed to work a combination of muscles, including your arms, legs, and core.

Ideally, you should be doing a strength-building workout twice a week. You can add these exercises to your weekly workout plan by either swapping them entirely for the first batch of exercises you started in May, or using the first group of exercises one day a week and this group on a second (nonconsecutive) day, says Dr. Frates.

If you have time and want a more vigorous workout, add the new exercises to the push-up exercise from the May issue.

Stay tuned — we’ll include a third and final group of even more challenging exercises in the November issue.

Side plank


In the May issue, Dr. Frates recommended planks as an exercise to build upper-body and core strength. This time try a variation, the side plank, which works slightly different muscle groups. To do this exercise, lie on your side. Elevate your upper body using your forearm for support, keeping your elbow aligned with your shoulder. Bend your knees and put your free hand on your hip. Slowly lift your hips off the floor. Hold the position for as long as you can, and then slowly lower yourself back down.

Set a goal: Test yourself to see how long you can hold a side plank on your right side and then your left. Increase your time with the goal of working up to one minute on each side. Ultimately, try to achieve three one-minute planks on each side over the next few months.



This exercise targets your legs and core. Lie on your back with your arms by your sides and your knees bent. Pressing your shoulders to the ground, lift your buttocks off the ground and then lower them back down.

Set a goal: Start with one set of 10 repetitions. Over time, add more sets, ultimately increasing to three sets of 10.



To perform a squat, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart with your toes pointing forward. Keeping your arms straight out in front of you for balance, bend your knees while pushing your hips back. Be certain to keep your knees over your ankles. Return to a stand and then repeat. If this exercise is difficult, you can make it easier by holding on to a stable surface to help you balance.

Set a goal: Start by seeing how many squats you can do. Depending on your current fitness level, you can begin with as little as one set of five repetitions or one set of 10. Then, over the course of the next few months, gradually work your way up to the ultimate goal, three sets of 20 squats per workout session.

Bible verses for today’s meditation and inspiration: Matthew E. McLaren

2 Corinthians 10:5 ESV We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,

Matthew 15:11 ESV It is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person.”

Colossians 3:1-2 ESV If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.

Proverbs 17:22 ESV A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.

Luke 21:34 ESV “But watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap.

Proverbs 16:3 ESV Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.

Galatians 5:1 ESV For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.

Matthew 7:7 ESV “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.

Romans 7:25 ESV Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.

Jeremiah 29:11 ESV For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

Proverbs 3:5 ESV Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.

Colossians 3:2-5 ESV Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.

Matthew 5:28 ESV But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

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