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Guide to 2013

Month-by-Month Fitness Tips

12 ways to spice up your exercise routine in 2013

En español | Excerpted from the 2013 AARP Almanac

Does exercising bore you? Do you find it hard to stick to a fitness plan? That's OK. These tips will keep your fitness routine from becoming routine and, in the process, keep you engaged.

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Guide to 2013 fitness shoes

Exercising outdoors offers even more health benefits than going to the gym. — istock

JANUARY

Did you know that nearly one in four gym-goers is over 55? AARP and the American Council on Exercise offer a free fitness consultation by an ACE-certified personal trainer (acefitness.org/aarpfitness), as well as a 20 percent discount on personal training sessions. Find gym discounts through your employer or your health insurance company, or check sites such as Groupon.com and LivingSocial.com to find deals in your community.

FEBRUARY

Try exercising with a friend or family member to keep you motivated. But if you don't have a reliable exercise buddy, try a virtual partner. The Nintendo Wii and Xbox Kinect gaming systems track your body's movements in real time and let you work out with a virtual friend.

MARCH

Ready to step up your training but not quite sure how? If you can walk continuously for 20 minutes, you might be ready to try running. Several running stores, gyms and online programs offer beginners' running programs, which guide novices through a walk-run routine a few times a week until they're running continuously for 20 or 30 minutes. Cool Running's Couch to 5K (coolrunning.com) and Runner's World's 8-Week Beginning Runner's Training Program (runnersworld.com) are especially popular.

APRIL

Take it outside. Exercising outdoors offers even more health benefits than going to the gym. Hiking, biking and walking in the fresh air have a greater positive effect on mental health than exercising indoors, a study found. Just five minutes of outdoor activity can improve mood, reduce stress and increase self-esteem — so take a walk after lunch for a more productive afternoon.

MAY

For National Physical Fitness and Sports Month, sign up for the Presidential Active Lifestyle Award challenge and track your progress online (presidentschallenge.org/challenge). Once you reach your goals, you'll be eligible to receive special awards and fitness gear.

JUNE

Add some strength training to your workout, which tones muscles, builds bone and burns a whopping eight to 10 calories per minute. Even better, the additional muscle that you gain from lifting weights boosts your metabolism. For every three pounds of muscle you gain, you'll burn up to 120 additional calories a day, just doing nothing.

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Video Extra

Getting fit can be overwhelming. Dr. Vonda Wright at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center offers insight to ways you can start exercising later in life.

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