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Five Ways To Exercise Throughout Your Day

You don't have to be training for a marathon to reap the benefits of daily exercise, according to fitness expert Judi Sheppard Missett, Jazzercise CEO and President.

"Even mild activities, such as gardening and house cleaning, are capable of improving one's health," she says.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, regular physical activity performed most days of the week reduces the risk of:

heart disease

high blood pressure

colon cancer

developing diabetes

Moderate exercise, meanwhile, is credited with:

reducing feelings of depression and anxiety

controlling weight

building and maintaining healthy bones, muscles and joints

improving the quality of life among older adults

promoting psychological well-being

Missett offers these five suggestions for making exercise a part of your day:

1. Walk, Walk, Walk. Before you grab your car keys and head to the corner store for that gallon of milk — STOP! Why not walk? Ditto for the next time you and your co-workers head to your favorite lunch spot three blocks away. Slip a comfortable pair of shoes in your bag, and keep your eyes open for any opportunity to get to your next destination under your own power.

2. Who needs a stair climber? Institute a self-imposed ban on elevator use. There's nothing like climbing a few stories to raise your heart rate and strengthen those legs!

3. Play with your kids! Ride your bikes to the playground, play tag, swing on the jungle gym. Kids benefit from physical activity as much as adults, and it's a great way to spend time together.

4. Add a 10-minute stretch to your morning regimen. Flexibility improves your range of motion, reduces the risk of injury and can be a wonderfully refreshing way to start your day. After a warm shower, perform gentle stretches for your legs, arms, neck and back.

5. Schedule your workouts ... and put it in writing! The best intentions to exercise are often sidetracked if you don't set a specific time or place.

"Schedule your exercise sessions as you would any other important appointment," suggests Missett. "After all, it's your health you're dealing with!"

© 2001 Health Resources Publishing