Submitted by ub on Thu, 05/10/2012 - 16:36

You may be talking to friends on the telephone about vacation plans, or online searching for great summer getaway deals, exciting outdoor activities, and sunny beaches. But are you prepared for shorts, swimsuits, and summer fun? If you're not as fit and healthy as you would like to be, you can breathe easy. It's not too late to get in shape for the summer months — and these reports from Harvard Medical School can show you how.

Often, exercise programs spotlight arms, legs, and abdominal muscles, while paying little attention to many of the muscles that make up your body's core. Your core muscles are critical to improving performance in almost any sport or activity, sidestepping debilitating back pain, and enhancing balance and stability. Two master trainers, working with a Harvard Medical School physician, have created this Special Health Report that will help you develop stronger more flexible core muscles. The report contains six illustrated and detailed full workouts that feature exercises and moves designed to enhance your core fitness. All the exercises can be made easier or harder, depending on your current level of fitness, and these essential exercises can fit into even the busiest schedule.

In Core Exercise: 6 workouts to tighten your abs, strengthen your back, and improve balance, you'll find:
• Core workouts that emphasize moves you make during sports and everyday life
• Tips for exercising safely and effectively
• The importance of posture, alignment and angles
• The right (and wrong) way to do core moves
• How to choose the right equipment for a successful workout
• Special Bonus Section: Setting goals and motivating yourself

We all want our exercise regimen to produce results. But if you don't enjoy the activities in your exercise plan, the likelihood that you will stick with the program is greatly diminished. Finding the right program that's both fun and effective can seem daunting. But our report Exercise: A program you can live with will help you choose the right blend of exercises, break down routines into manageable chunks, and help you decide whether you should join a gym or work out at home. You'll discover:
• What exercise can do for you
• How to create the best personal exercise plan
• Do you need to invest in exercise equipment?
• Our 12-week walking program
• 12 strength training exercises and 10 basic stretches
• How to stay motivated
• Special Bonus Section — Getting in gear: Tips and tools to get your exercise program moving

If you hear the term "strength training" and think of a bodybuilder with bulging biceps, you couldn't be more wrong. Strength and power training can benefit people of all ages and athletic abilities, whether you are 40 or 85, well-toned or unable to rise from a wheelchair without assistance. Strength training can leave your body looking leaner and fitter, and can also protect vitality and make everyday tasks more manageable. And gains come fast. Studies have found that just 10 weeks of weight workouts can dramatically improve strength, power, mobility, and agility. Want to learn more? Our report Strength and Power Training: A guide for adults of all ages can help. You'll learn:
• The basics and benefits of strength training
• How to choose the right equipment
• How to design your personal program
• Tips for training
• New exercises from our two illustrated complete workouts
• Special Bonus Section — Strength training over a lifetime: Keys to staying motivated.