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A few simple ways to lose weight

This is the time of the year when everyone is trying to lose weight. We're in February now and it's time to lose those pounds we packed on during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.

Everywhere I look there is a reminder of people trying to lose weight. Jared has been making the rounds for Subway a lot lately. There are clubs around town having weight loss contests. Even John Fannin from the Daily Sun News is on a diet.

All this got me thinking about my waist line. The wife did mention to me just the other day that it looked like I might have gained a few pounds since I quit smoking.

A gym membership costs about $600 a year. At home you won't have the fancy equipment but you can still receive the same results while saving a little money.

First thing everyone needs to realize is there is only one way to lose weight. This way doesn't come in the shape of a pill or in the form of a shake. The ONLY way to lose weight is to burn more calories than your body takes in.

For instance, if your take in 1,500 calories each day and you burn 1,600 calories for a month straight, you will lose weight. If you only burn 1,500 calories you will stay the same and if you burn less, you will gain weight. Pretty simple, isn't it?

Since most people like to eat and don't want to cut down on their portions, they must increase their exercise to make up for the food. I believe a person can usually eat what they want except for things like Twinkies and Big Macs. If you're trying to lose weight, you should cut those out of your diet. A Quarter Pounder or Ho-Ho is OK once in a while but not every day.

Before I get into the simple home exercises, let me first talk about cardiovascular activity. This is getting your heartbeat going, something that's key to losing weight. You need to find your target heart rate so you can exercise safely.

This is done by subtracting your age from the number 220. Since I'm 36 I would subtract that number from 220, which gives me 184. This number is my target heart rate at 100 percent. I want to keep my heart rate between 55 and 85 percent so I would take 55 percent of 184 and 85 percent of 184 which would give me the range I want to keep my heart beating at. In my case the numbers would be between 101 and 156 heart beats a minute.

An easy way to check this would be to divide the number by 10 and count the beats for six seconds. In other words, if I wanted to work out and keep my heart rate at 85 percent of my target heart rate, I should count 15 heart beats in six seconds.

The first simple exercise you can do at home is running in place. I know it sounds simple but it works. Running in place in front of the television for at least 20 minutes keeps your heart beat in the target range. If your heart beat is too slow, increase the speed and if it's too fast, slow down. If you keep in your target range I promise you'll be sweating profusely in 10 minutes. This should be done at least three times a week, but the more the better.

Another easy exercise is the sit-up. This is a nice exercise because you not only work your abdominal muscles but you also work out your lower back.

After sit-ups you can do some push-ups. Another simple and easy exercise that doesn't require any equipment. Push-ups work your biceps, back and shoulder muscles.

Jumping jacks are an easy exercise and everyone should know how to do them. Jumping jacks work your shoulders, stretch your body and is good for cardio.

My last easy exercise is squats. Just stand with your feet shoulder width apart and squat down with your back straight and then stand up again. It's a great way to tone up your upper legs. You can also rise up and stand on your toes and that will work your calves.

I would suggest doing at least 100 of these exercises a day. They don't all have to be at once. When you're watching television and a commercial comes on, jump up and do 10 or 20 push-ups, sit-ups, squats and jumping jacks. By the time you're done, the commercials will be over and you can get back to watching your show. Next commercial, do the same thing again until you have done 100 repetitions.

These are easy and simple exercises to do. There are many more that are just as simple and will help you get into the shape you desire to be. Good luck!

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