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Keeping Fit a Bit at a Time

By Charles Hopkins Published 05/25/2007 | Fitness

So you made a new year's resolution to lose some weight, to get in shape... and part of the plan is to work out for an hour a day, seven days a week!

No, wait... make that 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week.

No, better stick to 20 minutes a day, 3 days a week.

Oh, what the heck, why bother doing it at all. You'll just end up breaking the resolution like 95% of all people do, right? So it's easier to forget the heartache and frustration, and nip it in the bud, quit before you start.

Well, how about this instead. Don't make huge goals that you find daunting and you know you won't achieve... pick goals that you can get your head around and definitely continue to do forever.

A little bit here and a little bit there adds up. If you try to carve out an hour or half an hour, chances are you'll get busy and miss out on it a few times, then you'll just stop trying so hard, and it will turn out that you have to revise your plans or cancel them altogether, which will probably feel like failure.

But what if you do just 5 minutes, a few times a day? That will add up to the same amount of workout time, but it will be very easy to keep it up because it doesn't feel like it's taking any time at all.

Maybe every time you get up to grab a coffee, you do 20 squats. And while you're waiting in line, you do calf raises. And when you're washing dishes, you do leg lifts.

Sitting at your desk, you do some side stretches or virtual rows, or use a paperweight to do some bicep curls. And while you talk on the phone, you stand up and do some lunges.

Then maybe instead of taking the elevator all the time, you walk if it's four flights of stairs or less. And you walk to the store instead of driving if you're not buying too much stuff that you won't be able to carry it.

By the end of the week, you'll probably have done more exercise than you would have if you had forced yourself to work out for a certain period of time each day, and not been able to keep the schedule.

You won't break into a sweat with all your mini workouts, which some people say is key to getting the benefits of exercise, but it is arguable that this type of regular and consistent movement has a huge benefit for your body... and your mind, because you'll feel happier and more in shape just by the act of stretching, let alone doing the tougher moves.

So don't let a busy schedule stop you from being in shape. Do what you can every day, and keep yourself fit a bit at a time.