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Find the Best Workout for You

Ready to get moving? Here's expert advice on finding a fitness routine you'll want to do.

If You're on a Tight Budget

You don't need a gym membership to exercise. "With some free resistance, called gravity, bodyweight exercises can be easily performed at home, parks, or the beach," Lucett says. "It's a very affordable, flexible, and enjoyable way to get your exercise."

Try squats, lunges, pushups with different hand positions, walking lunges with torso rotations, long jumps, bridges with knee extensions, and bear crawls, which are done by walking on all fours.

Want to create your own home gym? De Los Santos says it isn't expensive and that you only need a few resistance bands, some dumbbells, and a stability ball to create unlimited workouts. No idea what to do with all that equipment? Hit the Internet or DVDs for videos.

And don't forget local recreation centers, which offer a variety of inexpensive activities options, usually at a fraction of the price of private clubs. For example, many recreation centers offer low-cost tennis lessons, which can be a pricey activity elsewhere.

If You Need a Challenge

Take whatever you're already doing to the next level.

"If you're into strength training, sign up for a body building show," De Los Santos says. "If you're into cardio, do an endurance event like a half marathon or marathon. If you like variety, try a triathlon."

According to the International Triathlon Union, triathlons are one of the fastest-growing adult sports in the world, with an estimated 6 million adults participating annually. And they aren't all Ironman competitions. Most people try a sprint triathlon first, which is typically a 500 meter swim, followed by a 20K bike ride, and a 5K run.

The point: Set a big goal for yourself, whether it's a marathon, triathlon, or challenging hike. Then break down that goal into smaller, more realistic goals.

If You Can't Touch Your Toes

Stretching increases range of motion, allowing you to perform more exercises with better results. And according to several studies, it can even decrease sensitive areas called "trigger points." Stretches should be held for 20 to 30 seconds each -- with no bouncing.

If You're Easily Bored

Look for cross training options such as cycling, swimming, and running. Bryant recommends changing your main activity every six to eight weeks. Alternatively, you can mix up each workout.

"Rather than getting on the elliptical for 45 minutes, do just 15 minutes, then do 15 on the treadmill and 15 on circuit training," Bryant says. "The next workout, take part in a group exercise program."

Remember, exercise doesn't have to come in a traditional package of cardio and weights. The options are endless. Go dancing, ice skating, or roller skating. Play Frisbee golf. Hit the jungle gym. Hike your local trails.

"They will all keep you moving, and that's the name of the game," Lucett says.

It also helps to find people with whom you enjoy exercising.

"The best thing is to connect with a group of people, whether that's a water aerobics class or a group you ride with," De Los Santos says. "The key is to create a social network of people that you relate to. That's what is going to keep you coming back. Everybody wants someone they can relate with. After all, who wants to be lonely?"

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Reviewed on November 22, 2012

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