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Make Exercise Fun

Shel Horowitz's Monthly Frugal Fun Tip for August 2006

Yeah, we all know we're supposed to exercise--but too often it seems like work, not fun, and it starts to slip farther and farther down the priorities list. Of curse, I want you to be alive and healthy for many years to come, and the longer you wait to start an exercise program, the tougher it will be to get back in shape.

I exercise regularly. These are some ways that work for me. Te point is not t do what I do, necessarily, but get your own heart rate up doing something you truly enjoy:

* Walk in the woods. Enjoy the beautiful plants and rocks, the amazing birds. No equipment needed other than a decent pair of shoes and a bottle of natural bug repellant. Near-daily hiking for seven years is the single reason why my ankles are finally strong enough to wear low-top shoes. Go fast enough that you feel your heart and lungs working, in order to get the aerobic benefit.

* Read a good book or magazine while using an exercise bicycle; for me, it makes the time go by so fast, I hardly notice I'm exercising

* Take a real bike ride. I love the wind in my face, the scenery, the whole experience. Start with five miles on level ground, and then slowly increase both the length and difficulty of terrain. When possible, use your bike to actually get places; with a backpack, rear storage rack, or panniers, you can hold quite a bit. In cities, bikes are often faster than cars for trips of three miles or less, and not much slower up to about five miles.

* Join an aerobics class. It's more fun to exercise with other people.

* Go dancing. I like free-form rock & roll; maybe you like ballroom, or western swing.

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