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Spring Into Fitness

WebMD Feature

Let the new season motivate you to make a fresh start

        The road to weight loss is often strewn with fad diets, broken promises, and exercise equipment that gathers dust instead of logging miles. As a member of the WebMD Weight Loss Clinic, you no longer have to worry about falling off a gimmicky diet because your eating plan is all about good nutrition and making healthy choices. You do need to make sure you are getting regular physical activity.

And what better time than springtime to kick your fitness up a notch? Longer days and warmer weather provide the perfect motivation. And you don't have to start training for a marathon, either; as long as you're getting more activity than you used to, you're on the right track. Let springtime's rejuvenation inspire you to break down those barriers and finally make fitness a way of life.

The Power of Physical Activity

Regular physical activity improves your mood, enhances the quality of your life, helps you burn off stress -- and, most important, it strengthens your body while it burns calories. Physical activity helps your body work the way it is supposed to. Even simple walking is a good, weight-bearing exercise that helps keep muscles -- including your heart -- strong.

The next time you finish your workout, think about how good you feel. Many people have trouble getting started, but once they finish, they feel terrific, partly due to endorphins, those feel-good brain chemicals.

But that's not all. Do your workout to music, and you may impress your friends with your improved verbal skills. A recent study published in the journal Heart and Lung found that cardiac rehabilitation patients felt better mentally and emotionally after working out on the treadmill. And when they added music to their workouts, they doubled their scores on verbal tests.

Evidence suggests that physical activity improves mental ability in people with heart disease, and that music enhances brainpower. And the combination of music and exercise was found to be more stimulating to the brain than exercise alone. So make sure you have your tunes before you start your workout!

'I Hate Exercise'

I can't tell you how many times I have heard that comment. If those words have crossed your lips, most likely what you hate is not the exercise itself, but the chore of having to do it. Let's face it, no one likes chores.

The key is to think of it differently. Instead of viewing exercise as a chore, replace the word exercise with physical activity. Now consider all the things that qualify as physical activity -- from walking and gardening to swimming, bike riding, tennis (my personal favorite), and throwing a football. This mindset will make it much easier to find activities that you enjoy, and exercise won't feel like a chore if you are enjoying yourself.

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