How to keep your resolution to get more exercise

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By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey

PHOENIX -- It's probably the top resolution people make every year on January 1: get more exercise. And adding some exercise into your life is actually one of the easiest ways to take control of your health.

But if you really want to make it work, you can up your chances of success with a few simple steps.

Dr. David Boyd with Cancer Treatment Centers of America says adding exercise is a key part of fighting off disease. “50 percent of cancers can be avoided based on lifestyle choices," he says.

But, Dr. Boyd says it needs to be a commitment, not just a New Year’s resolution that's focused only on losing weight. “Think of it more along the lines of a lifestyle change," he says. "Incorporate exercise into everyday activity.”

Dr. Boyd says before you begin an exercise program, you should talk with your doctor. "Make sure you are healthy enough for exercise, and see if there are any health concerns," he explains.

He says the total amount of time spent exercising does not have to be overwhelming. "If you look at the recommendations, two hours and 30 minutes of moderate exercise per week is what the recommendations are," he says.

And you don't need to dive into an intensive aerobics course, or a hard-core running program. "Certainly starting with a brisk walk is a good start, for maybe 20 minutes, half an hour, after dinner or on a lunch break. And then slowly moving up from there," he advises.

Dr. Boyd also recommends adding in some weight training for people of all ages. Building muscle can increase metabolism and help prevent osteoporosis. “Lifting small amounts of weight on a regular basis several days a week does increase bone density and can decrease the risk of fracture," he says, listing other benefits.

And you should try not to look at exercise as a chore. Instead, find ways to have fun, like playing a sport or being active with your kids."

And finally, Dr. Boyd says avoid thinking about weight loss, and instead focus on keeping active. “Your body is capable of many things," he says. "The more you do and go out and be active, the more productive and fruitful your life will be.”

And remember you only need to get that heartbeat up for about 30 minutes a day, and that can be done by anything from working in the yard to shooting a game of hoops with the kids.