By now, your muscles must be tight as a cord. A yoga class will stretch them back out. “Yoga will help your performance in other activities,” says Mark Blanchard, who owns Yogatime in Beverly Hills and teaches Lucy Liu and Drew Barrymore. To do a modified crescent, start on hands and knees, then lift hips to form an upside-down V. Lunge forward with right foot; raise torso, extending right arm in front of you, and pull left foot to butt. Stretches quads and hip flexors.
Play hooky. “Rest makes the body stronger,” says Sean Harrington, owner and fitness director at VERT in Santa Monica. “It allows muscles to refuel with glycogen, which is used up during exercise, and to work harder during your next workout.” If you want to really spoil your muscles, get a sports massage. Here’s the rub: A good kneading relieves tension in the muscles, alleviates stress and improves circulation and flexibility. To find an affordable (around $1 a minute) licensed massage therapist near you, call the American Massage Therapy Association at 847-864-0123.
If you resist the urge to stop for gorp every half mile, hiking is a top-notch cardio workout and fat-burner. Go for at least 60 minutes. If you don’t live near hiking trails, get outside and do anything active, such as inline skating or biking. (You won’t miss the gym stench, we promise.) Hiking, especially on steep inclines, taxes the calves and hamstrings. Going up, stay on the balls of your feet. Feeling tough? Walk with hiking poles to work your upper body and burn 25 percent more calories.
A hybrid workout of ballet and yoga will “make your butt head north instead of south,” says Melody Morton of L.A.’s Body & Soul Workout. For each move, do 2 sets of 8: (A) Releve with plie: Stand with feet slightly wider than hip-width, toes pointing out. Squat, lift heels and squeeze glutes for one count. Works glutes, calves, quads, hamstrings. (B) Degage: With heels together, toes out, lift right knee to hip level; point toe, then straighten leg. Switch legs. Works quads, abs. (C) Side stretch: Extend left arm overhead and lean right for 5 counts. Switch sides. Stretches abs, lats. (D) Pelvic tilt: Lie with knees bent. Raise pelvis, extend left leg up and pulse hips. Switch legs. Works butt, hamstrings.