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Incentive to get (and stay) fit

If you're anything like millions of people all over the world, you've committed to getting (and staying) fit in the new year. I'm right there with you. I've started (and stopped) several fitness regimes over the years. Always having some sort of lame excuse. Lack of time is the biggest culprit.

Well, this year I have vowed to be more organized and more clutter-free to allow time for the things that I truly want to do. Yes, by that I mean that I don't want to spend an hour a day cleaning the bedrooms of my daughters. I want to set aside 30 minutes a day to exercise. Doesn't seem overwhelming. But believe me, in a jam-packed day, finding 30 minutes to exercise can be a challenge. Check out the 100 Day Challenge on Facebook.

The hubs recently bought me a subscription to Fitness Magazine. I'm not reading anything into this, but well, one can only guess what his hopes are.

In the November/December 2010 issue, I read some sobering statistics about the benefits of exercise. Envision this: I, in my comfy pj's, sitting on my sofa devouring Christmas cookies at a rate unknown to man while reading Fitness Magazine. Hmmm. Something just wasn't right about that picture. It was as if the article came to life and slapped me in the face. Just the wake up call that I needed.

One look at these facts, and you'll be back at the gym in the morning.

After one day of exercise...
- Your heart is healthier. One session of moderate exercise can lower your blood pressure for 16 hours.
- You're adding lean muscle. One strength training session will help your muscles rebuild themselves and repair the tears that are a result of lifting weights.
- You're more alert. Exercise increases flow of blood and oxygen to the brain. Therefore, you are more focused than pre-exercise.

Within one week of consistent exercise...
- You cut your risk of diabetes. As you exercise, you increase your sensitivity to insulin, which in turn, lowers your blood sugar levels, reducing your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
- You build stamina. You can go a little longer and exercise harder than before.
- You're slimming down. Cutting your calories by 500 through diet and exercise will enable you to drop a pound your first week.

Within a month of consistent exercise...
- You build strength. The same workout that exhausted you on Day 1 is super simple on Day 30.
- You tighten up the middle. After 4 weeks of exercise, you are blasting fat in the abdominal area and building muscle.
- You build brain power. The more physically challenging your workout, the stronger your mental muscles become.

Within a year of consistent exercise...
- You lower your heart rate. Regular workouts help to make your heart pump more efficiently. The less work your heart has to do, the better. There was a time when I was running daily. My resting heart rate was 56 bpm.
- You've reached new levels of endurance. Within a year of regular exercise, you can expect to increase endurance levels by about 50%.
- You increase your life expectancy. Fitness fanatics have better DNA which ultimately slows the aging process.
- You're melting fat round the clock. Your cells are now breaking down fat and using it as fuel on a 24 hour basis. To keep your metabolism at its highest, increase the intensity levels of your workouts on occasion.
- You look and feel great! Reward yourself!

Need I say more? I needed no more incentive than this to get off my butt and get moving. Won't you join me?

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