Want to feel more fit in 2010? Thirty minutes is all it takes!

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A professor of health and exercise science at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C., says adding a half hour of exercise a day is the key to a healthier lifestyle.

“People don’t realize you can get tremendous benefit from regular physical activity even if you never lose a pound,” Peter Brubaker in a news release from the school.

Brubaker, director of the healthy exercise and lifestyle programs at Wake Forest, has these suggestions about how to get more exercise each day:

  • Don’t feel like you need to exercise all at once. A few minutes here and there can add up to what you need. Park farther away from an entrance when running errands, or walk around your office building at lunch.
  • Walk. It’s efficient and easy. If you wear a pedometer to track your mileage, studies suggest you’ll boost your activity. Try to boost your steps-per-day by a few more each week.
  • Find ways to get exercise in your daily routine through things like taking the stairs.
  • Track your exercise in a journal and don’t worry so much about weight loss. If you do want to shed pounds, 60 minutes of exercise a day is a good place to start but don’t feel like you have to go all out for an hour from the beginning.
  • Try a variety of activities and challenge your family and friends to join you in exercising 30 minutes a day.
  • The most important: Set realistic expectations. Change takes time. Small steps in the right direction over time help just as much as giant leaps in a short period of time.
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