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Don’t let the cold weather keep you from being active. You can stay fit this winter without shelling out cash for an expensive weight set or a gym membership.

All you need are two 10-pound weights, an exercise DVD or two and at least 20 minutes to spare a few days each week and you can get a lean, trim body that you won’t have to hide behind bulky sweaters.

The advantages of regular exercise are too great to be put on hold when workouts become inconvenient, especially during colder months.

“Many people view exercise as a chore,” says 4-Star Golden Circle and Athlete Suzan Hart. “You have to create balance and make it fun. If it’s not fun and won’t fit into your lifestyle, then you won’t do it. It’s even harder in the colder months when the weather isn’t perfect.”

To ease into an exercise routine this winter, Suzan recommends starting out with cardio a few times a week. Power walking on your home treadmill, trying out a new workout DVD or even dancing in your living room for 20 minutes can be a great jump start. Additionally, it helps the body “move the pumps” to cleanse the body.

The next step is to incorporate weights into your weekly routine, but not for the purpose to bulk up. Suzan says it’s not about how much you‘re lifting; it’s about using the proper technique. She encourages people who are new to a weights routine to actually not use them at all when they first start.

“Start out with no weights and simply learn which part of the body is moving and flexing. You’ll get a good workout because you‘re isolating the muscle and it will create great habits with the muscle when you add weights,” says Suzan, an accomplished bodybuilder whose heaviest weight at home is only 10 pounds.

Tips to Creating an Effective Exercise Routine

    * Visit your local library to rent exercise DVDs or purchase them inexpensively online. Try kickboxing or aerobics for cardio and yoga for flexibility. Rotate them into your routine at least 2-3 times per week.

    * Don’t lift weights and exercise the same parts of the body every day.

    * Limit your breaks between weight exercises to increase cardio effectiveness.

    * Always warm up and cool down. One of the best ways to do that is to stretch for 20 to 30 minutes.

    * Stave off boredom by mixing up your routine so you‘re not doing cardio or the same weight routine on the same day every week.

    * Do both cardio and weight training to get lean. The more muscle you have, the more calories you’ll burn, even while resting.

    * Join a group or work out with a friend at home to keep you motivated. Start a weekly workout group so you can travel to other homes for variety.

    * Track your progress. Keep the changes in your weight and inches in a visible place like your fridge or bathroom mirror.

    * Everyday activities help you burn. You can still take steps to being active by vacuuming the house, shoveling snow or taking the stairs instead of the elevator. Find ways to get in “accidental” exercise.

    * Try out some cheap accessories like a jump rope, resistance band or exercise ball.


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