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Guide to 2013

Month-by-Month Fitness Tips

12 ways to spice up your exercise routine in 2013

JULY

Summer is a great time to try a new sport. If you're feeling even a wee bit adventuresome this year, consider the newest craze in water sports: stand-up paddleboarding, or SUP. All you need is a paddleboard (available for rent at surf shops or outdoors stores), a paddle and any body of water — lake, river or ocean. Once you get comfortable on the board, you may want to try paddleboarding in waves for even more of a challenge.

AUGUST

When exercising in the heat, the general rule of thumb is drink 24 ounces of fluid two hours before exercise, followed by 8 ounces of water or a sports drink right before working out, with another 8 ounces of water every 20 minutes during exercise. And be on the lookout for signs of heat-related illness: muscle cramps, fatigue, dizziness, nausea and a sudden cessation of sweating. If you experience any of these, find some shade and quaff a cool, nonalcoholic drink immediately.

SEPTEMBER

Tap into your inner yogi during National Yoga Awareness Month. Just 20 minutes of yoga a day can lower blood pressure, reduce stress and alleviate pain. The Yoga Health Foundation is sponsoring one week of free yoga at more than 2,200 studios across the country. Find a participating studio at yogahealthfoundation.org.

OCTOBER

Hiking and biking are both spectacular during the fall, especially if you live in an area where the leaves turn brilliant colors. Look for hiking and biking outings through your city or county parks department and local sporting goods stores.

NOVEMBER

Thanksgiving marks the beginning of the holiday weight gain season. One way to curb cravings? A vigorous bout of exercise. New research shows that 45 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous exercise first thing in the morning actually reduces a person's desire for food throughout the day.

DECEMBER

Can't seem to find time to exercise during one of the busiest months of the year? Strap on a pedometer before you head out for your holiday shopping and then, instead of getting frustrated that you can't find a parking space nearby, rejoice when your little step-counter gizmo registers that many more steps taken. (You want to aim for 10,000 per day.)

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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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