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9 Tips for Active Weekends

Make the most of your downtime with these suggestions for instant fitness and fun.

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1. Have a Fun Day

Never, ever let errands and work spread to both Saturday and Sunday. Whether you live alone or with a family, pick one of those days and do something you want to do. You and your companions will soon look forward to this day, devoted not to formal exercise but to fun activities you can do together.


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2. Plan Ahead

Designate each Thursday evening as the weekend planning time. Start by getting the weather report. Next, detail the “must do” stuff, such as grocery shopping or taking your kid to a birthday party. Then, get creative and be bold by filling in the open space with great, refreshing activities. Work the phone-make reservations, call friends or family for invitations. Too many of us enter the weekend without solid plans, and end up watching TV and baking cookies we don’t really need.


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3. Have a Leisure List

Make a list of weekend fitness activities and choose one activity from the list every weekend. The more varied your weekend fitness routine, the more likely you’ll stay active on the weekends. On your list, you might write hiking, walking, and other activities.


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4. Be an Early Bird

Get out of bed at the same time as during the week. We often have great intentions to be active on the weekend-that is, until we sleep in until noon. When you lose half the day to the covers, it’s hard to find time for fun and exercise. Make it a habit to get out of bed the same time on weekends as during the week. In addition to freeing up more time for your weekend fitness forays, you’ll also regulate your body clock better. Once your body gets used to a regular wake and sleep schedule, you’ll fall asleep faster, feel more refreshed when you wake, and avoid that Monday morning “hungover” feeling.


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5. Wake and Walk

Head out the door before getting comfy with the Sunday paper. Walking first thing in the morning ensures you fit in your workout. Once you return, you’ll feel invigorated and be more likely to move more during the rest of the day.


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6. Go Tit For Tat

Match your time watching sports with playing sports. Too many men-and women!-have become addicted to watching sports on television. So we issue you this challenge: For every hour you watch sports on TV, commit to 30 minutes of doing a sport or some other exercise. Gradually increase the ratio to one-to-one; that is, an hour watching, an hour doing. For all the joys of major league sports, nothing compares to hitting a home run, scoring a goal, making a birdie, finishing the race, or winning the tennis match yourself.


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7. Keep a Fitness Kit

Stock your car with your gym bag or other favourite fitness items. Make sure to include a pair of sneakers. You never know when you’ll find yourself away from home with a little downtime. If your fitness kit is stocked and ready, you’ll have everything you need for fun.


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8. Take the Sweet with the Bitter

Combine physically active work with pure indulgence. For instance, split some wood or gather kindling in the woods as the physical activity part of your day, then sit in front of the fire with someone special for the pure indulgence part. Or take a long hike, and have a wonderful picnic basket waiting for you in the car.


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9. Embrace Your Inner Child

Don’t just push the kids out the door and spend the afternoon inside reading or cleaning. Join them. Find a tall tree and climb it with them. Spend the day cycling or playing tag. After all, even if our bodies are aging, we all have some childishness inside us, still aching to get out.


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