It’s tough to figure out how to fit in exercise, especially if you equate it with sweat, pain and tight clothes that announce every unsightly bulge. Maybe you plan on exercising every day but, somehow, never get to it. The good news is, exercise doesn’t have to hurt and it doesn’t have to occur in a health club. Exercise can happen anywhere: At work when you’re walking up and down the stairs or at home while you’re walking the dog, cutting the grass or vigorously cleaning out your garage. Once you understand that there are ways to incorporate exercise into your life without even once pulling on anything made of Spandex, you’re on your way to a healthier life.

The Basics

First, you should understand the components of fitness before you get started. The following should be included in any fitness routine:

1. Cardio endurance - How well your heart and lungs work to supply your body with oxygen during your workout.
Example: How well you’re breathing after chasing your terrified dog around the yard before stuffing him into the tub for a bath.

2. Muscular Endurance - How long you can hold a position or repeat a movement.
Example: Carrying 8 bags of groceries, plus a tired child, up 3 flights of stairs and into the kitchen without dropping them.

3. Muscular Strength - Your ability to lift the heaviest weight you can, one time.
Example: The strength required to shove your spouse over in an attempt to stifle the chainsaw-like snoring.

4. Flexibility - How limber you are.
Example: You’re ability to reach the top shelf of your bookcase for a quick dust.

5. Body Composition - the proportion of fat compared to bone and muscle. Example: Having a healthy percentage of muscle and fat in your body.

This all adds up to the fact that you should be doing cardio exercise, resistance training, stretching and eating a healthy diet. Oh, you already knew that? Then you’re ready to get started.

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