It is finally springtime. And that means that the weather is finally cooperating with us and allowing us to get outdoors and get some real exercise.

If you are like many people in the North Country, you probably gained a few extra pounds over the winter months and are looking for a quick way to get rid of them.

Well, I can't offer you a miracle pill that will melt the pounds off and cost you a bundle. But what I can offer you is sound advice and practical knowledge that will always, until the end of time, assist you in losing or maintaining a healthy weight.

So, we have been hearing a lot recently about calories in and calories out. The number of calories into your body has to be less than the number of calories that you expend, or use, in order to lose weight. Therefore, the easiest way to lose weight is to simply eat a balanced, nutritious diet with a moderate amount of calories and to strive for exercise every day.

And exercise does not have to be going to gym and pumping iron for 2-3 hours. Sometimes we get caught up in what we think exercise is. What we need to remember is that exercise is simply getting our bodies off the couch and moving.

Look at your children, for instance. Many of them get lots of exercise every day, but how many of them have gym memberships? Probably not too many. Therefore, we should look at them and actually follow some of their examples.

So, we could walk our kids to school, get on a bike and ride around the block with them a few times, walk up and down the stairs in your house 10 times, plant your garden, walk around the woods and do some birdwatching, or play kickball with your little tots.

Another idea is to form small walking groups with your friends and neighbors. This is a great way to spend some quality time with your friends instead of sitting on the couch and speaking with them on the phone for an hour.

This is all exercise and can add up to the recommended amount of time that was released in the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

We complain all winter about how cold it is here in the North Country but now that it is nice out, let's take advantage of it. Do not let your busy schedule prohibit you from getting the exercise you need. If you have to, schedule exercise time into your plan for the day. That way, you are committed to it.

Exercise actually stimulates the release of natural endorphins in your body and will produce a happy, pleasurable feeling.

So, why are so many of us struggling with weight when the formula seems so easy? Well, we have to eat in moderation and really listen to our internal satiety signals, or eat slowly and stop eating before you are feeling stuffed.

We need to really believe and understand that food is a fuel for moving our bodies. If we are not moving or exercising, we do not need as much food.

The bottom line is what people are always interested in. Therefore, in this case, the bottom line is get up and get moving. Exercise can be achieved in many, many different ways. Be creative and spend more quality time with your spouse, children, neighbors, and friends.

Don't focus your day around food but instead focus your day around exercise. Don't be afraid to try a new activity or pretend that you are a child again and play kickball. You will be surprised how happy and good it makes you feel.

It is OK for adults to laugh and run around like children again, especially when you are doing it with your children. Your children will also learn that their parents are really fun to be with and you both will most likely sleep better as well. Get out there and move!

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