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The Little Workout You Can Do

As CBS News Health Correspondent Dr. Emily Senay concludes the first week of a month-long series,The Great American Weight Loss, with a healthy activity that most people find they can't squeeze into their busy day - exercise.

Excuse of the day: I don't have enough time to exercise.

According to the American Heart Association, 250,000 people die each year in the United States from a lack of regular physical activity. In addition, only 22 percent of American adults get enough exercise to prevent cardiovascular disease.

Angela Settle, a personal trainer and a fitness expert for Shape magazine, says that everyone - especially people who are trying to lose weight - should make a regular exercise schedule a top priority.

"Committing yourself to a regular exercise schedule takes a bit of motivation. Everyone is busy," Settle explains. " But if you want to lose weight and stay healthy, you have to make the commitment to start exercising on a regular basis."

To start a simple exercising regime, Settle suggests four exercises that can be done at home - or, if you travel a lot, in a hotel room - without any special equipment. Set aside half an hour.

1. Chair dips.
What you'll need: Two chairs.
This exercise builds upper body strength and helps the arms, neck - and most important for women - the back of the arms. Chair dips also are designed to get the heart beating, working on the cardiovascular system.

2. Wall squats.
What you'll need: A wall.
This exercise is good for building leg and thigh strength, even on a limited basis.

3. Desk pushups.
What you'll need: A table surface, such as a desk or kitchen counter.
These exercises can be done in a variety of ways.

4. Back lunge.
What you'll need: A chair.
To complete the workout, an exercise that strengthens the lower portion of the body using the legs.

Settle says that even if you don't have a full 30 minutes every day, even 20 minutes doing a simple combination of any two of these exercises - one for the upper body and one for the lower body - is helpful.

The exercises work on the major muscle groups and build stamina. Most importantly, Settle says, the exercises increase the heart rate.

"If you go from one exercise to another, it's like an aerobic workout," Settle says. "If you're motivated and can stick with the routine on a daily basis, the results should be very positive."

Following Settle's advice, The Great American Weight Loss Tip of the Day is: Make exercise a priority, and make it part of your day.

"You will find it a great relief for stress, and even more satisfying than sitting down in an easy chair and munching on a snack," Settle says.

Before starting any exercise routine, Dr. Senay suggests that you check with your doctor and make sure it's compatible with your health needs.

Reported by Dr. Emily Senay

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