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Fitness For The New Year

BOSTON (CBS) - We all saw those crazy folks in the polar bear club go swimming on New Year's Day. I, for one, will never do that. You will never get me into a Speedo. At this point in my life I no longer skinny-dip; it is more like the chunky dunk!

The National Center for Health Statistics found that only 19% of Americans do three or more workouts a week. If your resolution is to be fit, be realistic about this goal. Any activity is good. Park your car at the back of the parking lot, if it is safe, and add a few minutes of walking.

Take the stairs instead of the elevator if you can. Sometimes those stairwells are scary. If that's the case, take the elevator!

If money is not a problem, join a gym. Look for a gym where you can do a month-to-month membership. Also, ask if they have a free pass so you can check out the place. Try a few of their classes as well as the machines.

Gyms intimidate me with all of their equipment. Have you noticed that the people using these gyms look like they don't need the gyms! And they all dress in spandex. I wear my husband's old tee shirts and my daughter's tights for my workouts.

If you can afford it, hire a personal trainer. Paying someone to make you sweat may be motivation enough to stay on course. If you watch the TV show, The Biggest Loser, they eat less, change their life styles and include exercise in their daily routines with the help of trainers, really mean and loud trainers! Please note that the contestants exercise 6 to 8 hours a day. Not many people can do that!

If your budget is flexible, how about a treadmill or bike for your basement? At our house I have an old treadmill, a newer recumbent bike, a mat for leg lifts, some free weights and a VCR connected to an old TV. That's my indoor gym!

If the budget is really tight and you don't mind the cold, walk outdoors. I prefer to be outdoors but I hate to walk with frost building up on my face mask as I walk. So I retreat indoors for the worst part of the winter.

The malls are also available for walking but you will need to drive there. Go with a friend, you'll be more committed if you have to pick someone up every morning.

One more thing:  Keep a log of how many miles you run or walk. My goal is to walk 500 miles. If I walk 10 miles a week that gets me to 520 miles for the year. I gave my husband a fitbit, a small movement meter, that you wear to help keep track of your physical activity. It also acts as his conscious and lets him know when he has not been very active.

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