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Five Steps to Fitness
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A new year has begun and this year you really are going to lose weight and get in shape. You told yourself the same thing last year – and the year before that, and for the last five years running. If you do not do something – for real – this year, you will be telling yourself the same thing next year.

Losing weight and getting in shape is simple. It's just not easy. Nothing else illustrates the difference between those words – simple and easy – quite as well. You can make it easier, by keeping it simple. Here are five simple, if not always easy, steps to fitness.

Simple Steps to Fitness

1. Walk two miles a day. Walk? Walk! Yup. Walking is one of the best exercises around. It is easier on the knees than running, and gives you a cardio workout without stressing the heart. Boring? No more so than sitting, watching television for two hours. Take a friend or a cell phone and spend the time chatting.

2. Skip the elevator; take the stairs. This may be impractical if you work on Floor 81 in the big city, but most of us work in buildings four to seven stories tall. You can walk five flights of stairs. When you do, you lift your own weight five stories high. Do this twice a day and you will be amazed at how much your wind improves. If you cannot do the full trip, start with one or two floors, and work your way up.

3. Skip seconds. A sedentary adult needs only 1500 calories a day. A sedentary teen needs more, but 3500 calories will make anyone but a long-distance runner fat. Take generous portions at meals, but skip seconds. Slow down your eating and you will feel full despite eating less.

4. Watch your snacking. You probably cannot eliminate snacking, especially if you are a stress eater, but changing your snacking habits helps. You get more calories than you realize through snacks. Eat one piece of fruit rather than two candy bars. Eat one piece of hard candy instead of a donut. Cut back, and slim down.

5. Make water your drink of choice. A glass of juice at breakfast is good for you. A gallon a day is not. People get more calories through drinks – juice, sodas, milk, sweetened coffee and tea – than they need. Unsweetened coffee and tea or diet soda contains drugs like caffeine and other chemicals. Quench your thirst with plain water.
 
These steps may not make you an Olympic athlete, but stick to them for a few months. You will be amazed at the difference – not just in your health, but also in your wallet. If saving money on soft drinks bothers you, buy bottled water from vending machines, instead.

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By Mark N. Lardas..Copyright © 2010 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.


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