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Exercise tips and advice

In business, sales and marketing, we are in a marathon, not a sprint.

Sounds cliche, but it is true. That being the case, it is important that you stay sharp mentally and physically fit.

A few months ago, I took a look at myself in the mirror. I had put on a few pounds, felt tired and run down and lethargic.

I needed to change my diet and start exercising - but how to start.

The first impulse all of us have, usually around the beginning of the new year or when warm weather is upon us, is to run out and join a gym. My wife belongs to one and pays thirty dollars and change monthly for the privilege. The problem is getting up and going to the gym.

Even if the gym is close, it is ten minutes to get dressed, fifteen minutes to make the drive and five minutes to get checked in and set up. In that same 30 minutes, I have completed more than half of my workout routine.

My suggestions for exercise from someone who recently got back into "getting in shape".

First, consider running or walking. The equipment is the cost of a decent pair of running shoes. I picked up mine at a big box sporting goods retailer for less than forty dollars.

Today, those shoes are worn and the seams are starting on one shoe, but what a return on my investment.

Next, plan a time and course for a run/walk. For location, I chose my neighborhood because the barrier to entry would be walking out the front door.

For time, I chose the early hours of the day, around 6 AM.

The hardest part was getting up in the morning and getting started. I wanted to sleep in and start the next day. Lying in bed, I told myself, "If I start running today, I will be late to work."

But I got out of bed anyway and got started.

I planned on running for a straight twenty minutes. As I started, I wondered "How many miles will I make today?". Instead, I ended up walking most of the way and only making it around the block, (with shortcuts).

The next day, agony. My back and legs felt like I had been in a car wreck. My head hurt. When I woke up, I could not find my running shoes or shorts. I was starting later than the day before. I almost rolled back into bed and called it a day.

But I got out of bed and went anyway.

And so it went for the next three months. Day in and out. Rain or shine (ever run in the rain?).

Three months later, I still run every day. I change my course and try to add new streets and neighborhoods just to keep it interesting. Despite early meetings, out of town trips and even a short vacation, I stick to my running schedule.

A couple of weeks after I started running, I began lifting weights. Again, I refused to join a gym. Rather, I went into the garage and used those weights I had bought piecemeal over the last decade.

I started with some curls, butterflies and presses.

Again, the sore factor was in overdrive the next day. But I kept on. Today, I cannot imagine a day without some sort of weight lifting or exercise like pushups or situps.

The result of my three month experiment: More energy, less stress, lowered blood pressure and decreased cholesterol. I have been more patient and less angry. My focus has improved as has my critical, long term thinking. I don't know why, it just has happened.

Also, I have lost weight and my spare tire is running on empty. My wife noticed for the first time this weekend, how different I look. Clothes are starting to fit again and my children have not remarked lately on my "fat stomach".

All good in my book.

Remember, exercise is not a gym, expensive equipment or trainers. Pick up those dusty running shoes and get out for a walk, then run. Ride that bike in the garage. Clean off the clothes hanging on the treadmill or machine in the corner of your bedroom and get started.

Just get started. You new body is waiting for you in the near future.

Now get back to work.
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