I’ve been asked how to fit a healthy fitness lifestyle into an already busy and hectic schedule. Especially now that kids are running to camps and we’re on vacation. Remember, an active lifestyle is more than visiting the gym for an hour or jumping around in the living room to an aerobics tape. If you get creative, you will find ways to incorporate movement into almost everything you do. Here are some suggestions to get you started and help you boost your activity level. If you make a conscious effort to add more activity into your daily life, it will become second nature. Give some of these suggestions a try:
    Walk as much as possible by parking the car a few blocks away from where you’re headed or walk to an appointment from your office instead of driving. Whenever you’re walking try to focus on long PURPOSEFUL strides that are quicker than normal pace. This gets the heart rate going a bit faster than just meandering along.
    {mosimage}Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Walk up the stairs as quickly as you can. For a little variation, try slowing down and taking two stairs at a time to further strengthen your legs.
    During breaks at work, walk the stairs, walk around the building or walk down the halls. Find any type of activity that keeps you moving during your break — you can sit at your desk and relax after the break!
Whenever you’re walking somewhere, take the “long way around.” Use this technique to get anywhere you’re going from shopping at the mall to getting a drink at the water cooler.
    At the supermarket, if you don’t have too many bags, carry your own groceries out to the car without the shopping cart. And remember, park the car in a spot furthest from the store entrance but at night make sure it is in a well lit area.
    Work in a garden or the yard during the summer. Gardening will take your body through a whole range of movements.
    If you have children, or grandchildren, spend some quality time playing with them. Few things can jump-start your heart as quickly as trying to keep up with a child. Play catch, jump rope, play on the monkey bars, push them on the swing or have a foot race.
    Take lessons to learn how to play tennis, racquetball, golf or any other activity you think you might enjoy.
Designate an area of your vehicle as “the locker room.” In that area (or box) put a pair of tennis shoes, clean socks, clean towel, Frisbee, tennis rackets, softball and gloves or any other items that strike your fancy. Whenever you’re out and about with a little extra time you can spontaneously stop off at a park to play catch, a tennis court for a game of tennis, or a walking path that’s calling you to explore it.
Now stop reading this article and get out there and PLAY!

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