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Lose Weight With Morning Exercise

Walk the dog, join a health club, get into running. Whatever you do, you've got to move your body as much as possible if you want to lose weight.

Working Exercise Into Your Life continued...

His advice: "When you go to the mall, the grocery store, the office, park your car as far away from the front door as you can. Take the stairs rather than the elevator. These are habits you can get used to. They will become common practice."

Structured physical activity is also important. Walking, yoga, lifting weights, biking, running, and swimming - could all be a morning exercise choice. Here's an estimate of the average calorie-burn potential from 30 minutes of exercise:

Vigorous Exercise
Running or jogging (5 mph) = 295 calories
Bicycling (10 mph or more) = 195 calories
Swimming (slow freestyle laps) = 255 calories
Aerobics = 240 calories
Basketball = 220 calories

Moderate Exercise
Walking (3.5 miles mph) = 140 calories
Weight training (light workout) = 110 calories
Stretching = 90 calories
Biking (less than 10 mph) = 145 calories
Dancing = 165 calories

One recent study noted that yoga - a popular morning activity - can help prevent the dreaded middle-age spread and even help shed unwanted pounds. Researchers looked at normal and overweight men and women who practiced yoga regularly (at least one session of 30 minutes or more per week) for four years or more. It compared their weight with the weight of people who didn't do yoga.

Normal-weight people who practiced yoga gained less than those who didn't practice yoga. Overweight people who practiced yoga lost an average of 5 pounds; those who didn't practice gained about 14 pounds.

Yoga's effect may have more to do with body awareness than the actual calories burned during the average session, researchers say. During yoga practice, you are more aware of your body - which can prompt you to quit eating when you're full.

Getting Started on Your Exercise Routine

If you're really trying to lose weight and keep it off, work toward a goal of 60 to 90 minutes of exercise most days of the week. But that's a lot to ask someone who's just starting out, says Thompson. If that's you, try it in 10-minute chunks of time at first -- several times a day, several days a week.

To get your morning exercise ritual going, here are some tips.

Talk to a doctor first. If you are overweight and if you have risk factors for heart disease - high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or family history of heart disease - get your doctor's OK before starting an exercise program, Thompson says.

Start with walking. Set short-term goals - 10 minutes, 15 minutes, etc. Gradually increase the number of days. Walking a dog is great because it gets you out for 20 minutes in the morning, and then 20 more at night. "If I can get someone up to 45 minutes or an hour of exercise during the day, I consider that a major success," Thompson notes. "You can't ask anyone to immediately start exercising for 90 minutes. You have to start with lifestyle changes and increase from there."

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