Some men may think of exercise as something to do only when they need to lose a few pounds. But regular physical activity should be a permanent part of every man's lifestyle. The health benefits you gain (see page 55) won't last unless you exercise regularly. Here are some easy ways to incorporate physical activity into your daily routine:
• Make time for exercise every day. Get up half an hour earlier in the morning to work out. Better yet, watch television half an hour less each day and spend the time exercising.
• Work exercise into your usual routine. Stop using the elevator at work; take the stairs instead. Park a few blocks away from work or from the store and walk the extra distance. Take the dog for a nightly walk. Push the baby in a stroller or pull your children in a wagon or on a sled for half an hour every day.
• Exercise with a friend or family member. Working out with someone is a good strategy because you can motivate each other.
• Exercise while doing other things. Lift hand weights while you are talking on the phone. Do some sit-ups or leg lifts or ride a stationary bicycle while you are watching television.
• Break up your exercise time. Exercise for three 10-minute periods throughout the day instead of one long session. The exercise benefits will remain the same.
• Draw up an exercise contract. Write down weekly fitness goals and sign the contract. Then have a friend or family member witness it.
Don't forget to warm up before exercising and to cool down afterward (see page 14). And remember, you are making a change for the long term. Once exercise becomes a permanent part of your daily routine, it will cease being an effort. And you will feel better and look better—two of the best motivators you can find.
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