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'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.

Speaking of enjoyment, spring fairly beckons us to come outside and enjoy nature's beauty. So treat yourself to a good pair of sneakers and a pedometer and hit the streets. Walking is one of the easiest forms of physical activity, and it can be done almost anywhere.

Wear the pedometer for one day to determine your typical daily step count. Once you know your average, strive to add at least 2,000 more steps to your day to help you maintain your weight. Adding a few thousand more daily steps will catapult you into weight-loss range.

If you have physical limitations, check with your doctor, and let our fitness guru, Richard Weil, give you some tips on his Exercise and Fitness message board. Keep in mind that activities done in water or on a stationary bicycle take pressure off your joints and may be a good way to get started.

Make a Commitment

One of the best strategies for making activity a habit is to commit to a program -- or to a friend. Knowing that your walking partner is on the corner waiting for you at 7 a.m. is a great motivator to get out of bed. Likewise, if you sign up for a class or buy a gym membership, you are making both a personal and financial commitment. When you know someone is counting on you, it's easier to stay motivated.

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