Are you one of those people who lives a busy life – too busy to take time for exercise? Do you put off going to the gym, taking the stairs, or even walking the dog because you’re too tired?

Chances are, after a couple of months, sometimes years of making excuses, even legitimate ones, you’re going to find yourself seriously out of shape. No time for regrets or self-deprecation, just look for the signs, be honest, and follow a few suggestions that will get you back to where you need to be!

1) You’re always tired. Exhaustion and fatigue are often the result of inactivity. Even if you’re working 10- hour days in an office behind a computer or travelling by car to appointments, you’re still not physically active enough to make a difference. According to The American Council on Exercise, working out regularly (3-5 times/week, 30 minutes) is the key to staying energized and alert all day.

What to do: Get moving. Take a walk at lunch. Use the stairs at work. Walk the dog. Swim laps in your pool. Bike around the neighborhood.

2) You can’t do push-ups. Push-ups are an excellent test, especially for upper body and core strength. To perform a push-up, you should be able to lower yourself with arms tucked close to your body before pushing yourself back up. Anyone less than 50 should be able to do a minimum of 5-10 just to be considered in fair shape.

What to do: Try modified push-ups with your knees on the ground.

3) Your heart’s telling you something. Check your pulse by placing your index and third finger on the side of your neck beneath your jawline, and count beats per minute. A normal resting heart rate is between 60-100 beats/minute. When a fit person exercises the heart speeds up to 140-190 beats/minute to pump O2 throughout the body. When you stop, the heart slows down to normal by about 20 beats/minute. If you find your heart racing when you climb stairs or carry groceries, you’re probably out of shape and need some cardiovascular activity.

What to do: Choose low-impact, low-resistance exercises like walking, swimming or light weight training to get started.

4) Your waist is out of control. Excess weight around the midsection is not only unattractive, it’s dangerous to your health. Males should have a waist circumference of no more than 40 inches, females shouldn’t exceed 35 inches.

What to do: Lose weight by eliminating late night grazing, cut back on alcohol, no more junk food and fried foods. Eat a healthy breakfast!

5) You’re always in a bad mood. Long stressful hours at work, lack of physical activity, weight gain and other factors can make you short tempered and cranky.

What to do: Get up, get out meet people, try new fun activities. What are you waiting for?

Tom Bonanti is a certified fitness trainer and massage therapist. Contact Tom at trainertomb@aol.com with your fitness questions.