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A dozen ways to fit in fitness

Getting fit doesn’t necessarily require a gym membership, expensive equipment or back-breaking marathon training. You can squeeze in 30 minutes of activity a day with just a little creativity:

  1. Work the house. Put a little extra muscle into the scrubbing, vacuuming and washing you do around your home. Tackle those home improvement projects you’ve been putting off.
  2. Go for gardening. Weed your flowerbeds, mow the lawn or plant some shrubs.
  3. Tune in to the tube. Don’t just sit there—get off the couch and dance to the music of TV talent competitions or march in place during commercial breaks.
  4. Capitalize on your commute. Walking or biking to work is great, but if that’s not possible, try getting off the bus a few stops early.
  5. Make the most of a jam. Stuck in a traffic nightmare? Try some muscle-strengthening exercises. For example, press your lower back into the car seat and tighten your abdominal muscles to help tone your tummy. Or firm up the arms by grabbing onto the steering wheel, and, with your hands at the 9 and 3 o’clock positions, press your arms inward.
  6. Take a time-out. Schedule regular walking breaks during your workday, throwing in a few trips up the stairs for a challenge. Bring a buddy for motivation.
  7. Deliver a message personally. Forget e-mail or the phone. If you need to talk to a co-worker, get up and walk over to him or her.
  8. Act like a child. Go with your children to the playground, taking your turn on the swings or monkey bars, or start up a spirited game of tag in the backyard.
  9. Run errands. Leave the car home and walk or bike to the store to pick up that milk and bread.
  10. Park it. Avoid the crowds that circle for the parking spaces nearest to the mall. Opt for one farther away to get your walking in.
  11. Survey the scene. Try taking a couple of laps around the mall instead of heading directly to your favorite store.
  12. Pace yourself. Buy an inexpensive pedometer to track just how far you really walk during the course of a day. See if you can work yourself up to 10,000 steps a day. It’s a great incentive to keep you moving!