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Give Your Exercise Routine a Spring Cleaning

Spring clean your exercise routine to shake off the winter doldrums and get a head start on swimsuit season.

Here are some tips for getting ready to work out this spring and for keeping yourself motivated.

Preparing For Your Spring Exercise Routine:

1. See your doctor. If you haven't been active for a while, check with your doctor. This is especially important if you're over 50 or have serious health conditions. There are effective exercises for almost every fitness level so it's worth taking precautions to keep safe.

2. Set goals. Establishing clear and realistic goals is an effective way to stay motivated. It will also give you a baseline for monitoring your progress. You may want to lose weight or work your way up to completing a marathon.

3. Go shoe shopping. Athletic shoes are one of the most important items in your exercise wardrobe. Buy shoes that are made for your chosen activity, whether it's golf or running. Replace them as often as needed when they show wear and tear, which is usually every 4-6 months if you run regularly.

4. Assemble your equipment. You can get a great workout without buying expensive equipment, but you may want to invest in some pieces that will let you exercise at home. You could get your own treadmill or buy an exercise ball. With free weights, you can do strength training at home even if your space is limited.

Designing Your Spring Exercise Program:

5. Plan a balanced program. A well-rounded workout routine usually includes a mixture of aerobic, strength and flexibility exercises. Give yourself a little time to warm up at the start of each session and to cool down afterwards.

6. Start slow and work up gradually. Focus on the quality of your efforts. When you've mastered good form with some basic exercises, you can increase the length and intensity of your sessions. A sensible approach will help you to avoid injury and remain encouraged about your progress.

7. Find activities that work with your schedule. For optimum results, you'll need to work out about 30 minutes a day with adequate days off for rest and recovery. Structure workouts that fit into your schedule whether it's before or after work or a combination of brief sessions.

Sticking to Your Spring Exercise Program:

8. Spice it up with variety. Keep your workouts interesting by varying your routine. You could alternate between swimming and playing tennis. Enjoy the convenience of your treadmill on workdays and go running in the park when you have more time on weekend mornings.

9. Try something new. Rejuvenate your spirits by taking on a new challenge. Sign up for rock climbing classes or dance lessons. Buy a new exercise video or browse through the selection at your local library. Netflix has exercise videos on demand for you to watch instantly.

10. Put yourself in good company. Get an exercise buddy so you can support each other in pursuing your fitness goals. Sign up for mother and baby exercise classes at your local community center and make some new friends.

11. Reward yourself. Reward yourself with anything but fattening foods for sticking to your exercise regimen. Buy a new pair of jeans in a smaller size or sample an exotic fruit you've never tasted before.

12. Have fun. Exercise is a lot easier if you keep it fun and enjoyable. Pick the activities that appeal to you. Give yourself reasonable time off when you need it.

Designing a spring exercise routine that works for you will help you look better and become more fit. Allow the renewal of the seasons to renew your fitness commitment. You can have fun while you improve your health and appearance.

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