FROM OUR SPONSOR: Get in shape with these workout tips


Have fun. Vary your workouts to avoid hitting an exercise plateau. Explore new regimens such as jogging through the park or ballroom dancing.

Up the intensity. As your body gets used to a particular exercise, your strength and endurance will increase. To stay challenged and to progress toward your goals, gradually increase the intensity of your workout. If you are a beginner who usually walks for 20 minutes three times a week, consider increasing the duration or frequency of your walks or walk faster and swing your arms. For strength training, add one or two pounds every few weeks, increase your repetitions or sets, or reduce or eliminate the rest period between sets. In general, you should lift a weight until you cannot complete any more repetitions using proper form.

Listen to your body. A burning sensation in your muscles or fatigue is normal during exercise; sharp pain is not. If you feel pain, stop exercising at once. Then consult a doctor if pain persists for more than a day or two.

Reward yourself. Whenever you meet a short- or long-term goal, do something nice for yourself. For example, buy that new CD you’ve been pining for. (Don’t reward yourself with an ice cream sundae, of course.)