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To Keep Fit, Keep Moving!

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"I stay in shape just keeping up with my 11-year-old grandson and his friends," says Ricci, who mows the lawn once a week and cleans house, in addition to supervising neighborhood football games.

Before starting any fitness program or even just picking up the pace of your usual activities, be sure to talk with your doctor. What questions should you ask?

  • Should I limit any activities because of medical conditions or physical injuries?
  • What's the safest way to start? Do I need to build up gradually to my fitness goals, warm up or stretch before exercise, or cool down afterwards?
  • Should I avoid intense sunlight, temperature extremes, mosquitoes, exhaust fumes, or other environmental conditions?
  • Are there times I should not exercise vigorously, like after eating or before bedtime?
  • Should I cut back if I experience extreme fatigue or muscle pain?
  • Are there warning signs for which I should get medical help immediately, like chest pain, faintness, or extreme shortness of breath?

Once you've got medical clearance, just do it! "Anything you can do to get up and moving is helpful," Simons-Morton says. "No wonder we have an obesity epidemic -- we have a sedentary lifestyle. We sit all day at work, then watch TV and play video games. We were not designed to function in that type of environment, and it's killing us."

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