We all know it's necessary, but we don't want to get up early in the morning to do it.

What is this "it" I'm talking about?

It is exercise and it is essential for a long and healthy life. I'm not just saying that either. Ask anyone who has lived to be sixty, seventy, and over who move better than some people half their ages. They have used exercise to turn their life around.

Exercise is getting our bodies moving and burning calories. To lose one pound, it takes a deficit of 3,500 calories. I know what you're thinking - it might as well be a million calories. But, it is not as hard as you think. Exercise doesn't have to be organized at a gym for it to be legitimate and to "count."

The best thing about exercise is that it is cumulative. That means that if you do ten minutes of walking in the morning, fifteen minutes of walking at lunch, and twenty minutes of walking when you get home, it all adds up to calories burned and pounds lost. The benefit to your muscles and heart increase as you continue to fit exercise in where you can.

So, where do you start?

Get up off the couch. That is the hardest part. Starting is both good and scary. What if we can't do it? Well, I'm here to tell you that there is an exercise for you. The key is to start slowly and work your way up. Unlike a horse race, you don't have to be fast out of the gate, you just have to make it out of the gate and continue on the track.

Walking is the best overall exercise. You can do it anywhere and it works your lower and upper body. If you can't afford a gym membership, walk outdoors. You can walk in your neighborhood or in the park. Walking will condition your heart and lungs for other exercises that you may try.

My sister likes kickboxing. It is hard, but it gets a good sweat going. Classes of all kinds are fun for her because she is not alone. Others are working hard to make a change as well. Besides, she likes to give the other participants a laugh every now and again, when she is trying to learn new moves and looks like an octopus with it's arms flying everywhere trying to keep up.

This brings me to another point. One way to get started on a positive note is to find a friend to help you. Working out with a friend or coworker can keep you from wimping out on those days when you feel like taking a day off. Even if you only have a partner one or two days a week, it can motivate you to work on your own the rest of the week.

Try a variety of exercises. Stick with the one you like and when it becomes too easy, switch to something else. Aim for thirty minutes a day starting out and gradually work your way up to more strenuous and longer workouts. Your heart will thank you.

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