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A Health Writer Confesses: "I (Finally) Did It My Way"

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3. Make Myself Move...a Lot

I'm always harping on the benefits of exercise, and honestly I thought I was okay in this department. I take two-hour hikes on the weekend followed by an hour-long bike ride on Mondays. But no -- these aren't enough to get me through the rest of the week.

How do I know? Jan Schroeder, PhD, senior exercise physiologist at IDEA Health and Fitness Association, tells me so. "Continuity is crucial," she says. She urges me to get in more activity on the days I don't work out -- walk the dog, play catch with the kids, garden, or walk around a mall without a credit card. It all counts toward the recommended 30 minutes of daily activity.

I also know that workout buddies and long-term goals can boost motivation, so I drum up exercise dates. One friend agrees to hike with me on Wednesdays; another talks me into taking a tough boot-camp-style class on Saturdays. Online, I find a mini triathlon (a half-mile swim, a 15-mile bike ride, and a four-mile run) that's six months away. I sign up before I can talk myself out of it.

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