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You don't need to walk for miles or spend hours at the gym to get a good workout. It can be as easy as making a few changes in your dail...




You don't need to walk for miles or spend hours at the gym to get a good workout. It can be as easy as making a few changes in your daily lifestyle, or it may involve starting a more organised fitness program. It's up you. The key is to find an exercise program that suits your goals, interests, and fitness level, and your weight loss efforts will begin to pay off. Put exercise at the top of your "for me"  list. The result will be a healthier, happier, and sharper you. Check out these exercise options and choose the one that works best for you.


Increasing your daily activity through little lifestyle changes can be a powerful and effective way to get fit. Burning just 100 extra calories per day, the equivalent of taking a few extra steps each day, adds up to 10 pounds of weight loss in one year. The key is to try to do something every day. Use these eight simple techniques to introduce extra calorie-burning opportunities into your day:

1. Park farther away and walk.

2. Return shopping carts to their proper places.

3. Avoid elevators and take the stairs.

4. Take a walking break instead of a coffe break.

5. Get up from your chair frequently to move around.

6. Listen to upbeat music while you clean your house, and you'll move faster.

7. Pace while you talk on the phone.

8. Walk around the office as you brainstorm you next project.

Get fit

The hardest part of exercise is getting started. Begin by thinking about the principles of FITT: Frequency, Intensity, Time, and Type.

Frequency: How often you exercise significantly affects your fitness, health, and weight loss. Low-intensity exercise performed most days of the week leads to improved health and moderate weight loss. More intense exercise performed three to five times per week results in more significant weight loss.

Intensity: How hard you work out also determines your fitness level and affects the amount of weight you lose. To determine your intensity level, use any of these methods:

Talk test: Push your exercise har enough that you're slightly winted but can still talk easily.

Scale of 1 to 10: Assign numbers to your intensity level. Give a 1 to an activity you could sustain for hours; a 10 would apply to an exercise that results in major suffering. Most workouts should fall between 5 and 8.

Heart rate: Weight loss occurs when your exercise intensity fallls between moderate (55 per cent of your maximum heart rate [220 minus your age]) and high (85 per cent of your maximum heart rate).  Measure your heart rate by feeling your pulse in your neck (below your ear) or on the thumb side of your wrist. Count the beats for 10 seconds, then multiply by 6. This determines your heart rate in beats per minute.

Time: To improve cardiovascular fitness and to achieve moderate weight loss, you need to perform at least 20 to 60 minutes of aerobic (non-stop) exercise into a sinble session. If you don't need to fit the whole day's exercise into a single session. If you don't exercise regularly, a few 10-minute bursts of exercise spread throughout your day will effectively improve your health and fitness. Three 10-minute workouts - climbing the stairs at work or walking around the mall - add up to a daily workout. However, if you set more ambitious fitness goals, you need to get in longer workouts. Rather than squeeze several mini-workouts into your day, you need to devote a longer block of time to exercise.

Type: Choose an exercise based on what you want to gain from your efforts. For example, if you seek to improve your heart health, try low-intensity walking. If wieght loss is your goal, select an exercise that uses your large muscle groups, such as walking, jogging, swimming, or bike riding. Choose exercise equipment based on your personal preferences. The equipment you select will not affect the calories your burn as much as the time and intensity you devote to your workout.

Walk it off

Walking is one of the easiest and most effective methods to lose weight and maintain health. A pair of walking shoes is all you need. If you feel you're not in good enough shape to walk, try this simple routine: Check your watch. Walk away from your home for 10 minutes, turn around, and head back. You will have walked 20 minutes without much planning or effort and will have burned about 80 calories. Walking 15-20 minutes per day, for a total of 5-10 miles a week, burn 400-800 calories per week.

To walk properly, maintain a full stride and swing your arms. Also wear comfortable clothing and drink plenty of water. Or strive to take 10,000 steps per day. To get a realistic idea of how many steps you take each day, use a pedometer to count them for you. Simple clip the pedometer to yuor hip each morning, set it to zero, and start your day. Use the pedometer for at least one week to get a true picture of your daily activity. If you average fewer than 10,000 steps per day, step it up a bit.

Work out at home

Exercising in the privacy of your home is convenient and inexpensive, though it requires more self-discipline and structure than going to a gym. The key is having a variety of options you can fall bakc on. Keep a few workout videos and a set of dumbbells in your basement. A treadmill can provide  a good option during inclement weather or odd hours.

For a useful home gym, you need to plan a bit. For a little amount, you can create an effective workout pan that will tone your entire body. Here a re a few recommendation for inexpensive equipment that is easy to use and store.

Stability ball: A stability ball provides options for toning, strenghtening, and stretching. The ball is typically used for abdominal exercises such as crunches; it can also be used as a bench in strength exercises. Most stability balls come in two sizes - 55 and 65 centimeters. When sitting on the ball, your thighs should be parallel to the floor. In general, adults 5 feet 5 inches tall or less should use the smaller size, while those taller than 5 feet 6 inches should use the larger size.

Free weights: A set of dumbbells, in weights from 5 to 20-plus pounds, offers light muscle toning to intermediate strength training. Less expensive than machines, they provide flexibility and variety.

Resistance bands: Resistance bands or tubes provide another option for strength training. They're easy to store, come in a varitey of sizes and resistance levels, and can be used in numerous ways.

Step bench: A sten bench - a 6- or 8-inch-high platform - can be used for both cardiovascular workouts and strength training.

Videos: Exercise videos also offer variety. Use ones that focus on two or three different types of exercise.

Join the gym

You might find a class setting to be more motivating and challenging than working out alone. Group fitness classes offered through a recreation centre add varitey your routine, allow you to-discover new exercise options, and provide and instructor who will oversee your techniques. Good instructors have plenty of energy, enthusiasm, and knowledge of the activities they are teaching. For those new to group fitness, I suggests the following:

1. Check out a fitness centre's class schedule and ask friends and fitness managers for recomendations.

2. Look-for instructors who are cerified in group fitness.

3. Find a class that will push you a little but won't push you over the edge. If the class works at a high intensity or if the movements are too difficult, your risk of injury increases and the experience won't be much fun.

4. Join a class that is convenient and works with your schedule.

5. Get to the first class early and introduce yourself to the instructor so he or she can offer individual help, if needed.

Take it to the next level

Once you establish a fitness routine and follow it for a few months, you may find it becomes, well, too routine. Keep exercise from becoming boring by finding another activity you like and train for it. You don't need to run a marathon, but 5-kilometer races, walks, bike rides, and golf tournaments take place year-round. If you take tennis lessons, sign up on singles ladder with your local tennis association. If you enjoy soccer or softball, ask if your employer, church, or community center sponsors a team. Martial arts, such as tae knon do, are fitness-friendly and offer competitive options.

Reach your goal

Wheather you add small amounts of activity into your day or begin a formal exercise routine, your body will beome stronger and leaner. Deciding when, where, and how to exercise comes down to your preferences. Wheater you whish to slim down, tone up, control blood sugar, or boost your health, exercise is right when it works for you.