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You’re busy. You’re stressed. You never seem to have enough hours in a day. We know what you’re thinking: "To squeeze a little more out of my day, couldn’t I just get skip my workouts? Just for now."

Sorry. We’re not letting you off the hook that easily. Exercise can help you unwind and de-stress. Regular workouts will also make you feel better about yourself, and give you more energy to get things done. Not to mention helping you work off those extra holiday helpings and work out your concerns over the economy.

Here are a few tips to keep you on top of your game:

1. Put it on your calendar. It’s a simple trick, but scheduling your workouts like any other important appointment makes it more likely that you’ll get them done, and makes you think a minute longer before canceling. That minute could be all you need to get into your gear and out the door. Once you get to the gym or the track and see other people working out, you’ll catch all the motivation you need.

2. If you’ve had to ditch your gym membership or personal trainer because of finances, you don’t have to ditch exercise. Get outside and walk, or jog if you’re so inclined. Thanks to the magic of DVDs and fitness channels, you can take exercise classes at home. Just a common sense note: If you’re exercising outside, dress for the weather, and take a few minutes to warm up if you’re exercising in the cold (stressing a cold muscle is just asking for injury). If you exercise with an MP3 player, keep the volume down so you can hear traffic. And avoid isolated areas if you’re alone. If you’ve had to drop your personal trainer but still go to the gym, pay close attention to what other trainers are doing with their clients. Make sure you are using the correct form to avoid injury.

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3. Get family or friends involved. Keeping exercise fun and varying your activities is a good way to keep you going, and taking other people along makes it easier to keep your workout appointments. Drag your significant other off the couch, and take him or her to the gym or for a walk. Bring the kids. If you have a dog, grab the leash and both of you go for a walk. There’s a perfect excuse to get some exercise.

4. Adding more activity to your day counts, too. Park farther away from your destination, or get off the subway or bus before your stop and walk the rest of the way (assuming you’re wearing comfortable shoes). Take the stairs whenever possible. Bring a pair of sneakers to work, and go for a walk on your lunch break. Play with the kids. At work, get up and move around during coffee breaks. At home, take a few laps around the living room or do some physical work like gardening. Do some light housekeeping when you’re chatting on the phone (only if you use a "hands-free" headset; don’t cradle a telephone receiver between your ear and your shoulder), or stretch while you’re waiting for something in the microwave. It all adds up.

5. If you absolutely can’t exercise at least three days a week at the gym or on the trail, don’t beat yourself up -- break your time up! Studies have shown that even little spurts of activity (for example, three 10-minute sessions instead of one 30-minute session) are just as good for you as getting your exercise in one gulp. We’re sure you can fit this in your busy schedule. Then resolve to get into your regular exercise routine as soon as possible. You’ll be back on track in no time!

FS Author Laurie Boris

Laurie Boris is a freelance writer from New York. She previously wrote "Dying To Be Beautiful" for Synergy. Reach her at featuredstories@adamcorp.com.