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Spring Break for Your Body

Spring is just the right season to get your body tuned up and toned up

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Thompson recommends taking your baseline of steps for a week. Keep a journal of any activities that take longer than 10 minutes. Then add 10% to your total steps per week. Usually this can be done more quickly when you focus on it, Thompson says.

Some suggestions: Park as far from the store or office door as you can. Walk to a cubemate's office rather than emailing. Walk to the kids' bus stop. Shop inefficiently, crisscrossing the store.

"I also recommend building a support system. Get someone to be your encourager," Thompson says.

One way to both disguise and improve a not-so-supermodel body is to get in the pool!

Cecil M. Colwin is a swim coach and author of Breakthrough Swimming. "Swimming is an exercise you can do every day of your life," he says. "There is the Japanese crawl, the Australian crawl, the American crawl. I try different techniques. In fact, I believe that swimming has to be modernized for the 21st century."

At 78, Colwin has a resting pulse of 42 but can boost his heart rate to 180. He swims a mile a day and water-walks in shoulder-high water for 400 meters.

"If I stop for two or three days," Colwin says, "I feel old age creeping up."

Could swimming keep old age from coming anywhere close? Sure! "Swimming," Colwin says, "is a workout and massage all in one. It's not jarring. Your body is virtually weightless."

Adults can take swimming lessons in almost every community in America. "We teach the breathing first," Colwin says. "If I cannot breathe in water as easily as I do on land, I am handicapped. You let the air trickle out. It's diaphragmatic breathing."

At first, Colwin advises, swim every other day. You may need some recovery time at first. Although it's difficult to strain yourself swimming, check with a doctor first. Swimming is a cardiovascular workout. Even Colwin is a little breathless at the end of his stints.

"Don't be too gung-ho at first," he says. "Do a distance you can do comfortably. This is training -- not straining."

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Reviewed on April 09, 2008

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