Itís that time of year again, getting the kids ready for school and busy schedules filled with sports and academics. Vacations and summer fun are running to an end. It is time to get ready for a new season and embrace new changes.

Exercising regularly and eating a healthy diet can be hard with the busy world we live in. Now we have emails, iPhones, Skype, Facebook, Twitter, online college courses, GPS systems and cell phone apps for everything. As soon as the alarm goes off we are on the go and donít stop until the day has ended. It never seems thereís enough time in the day to get everything done.

There are 10,080 minutes in a week, so letís pretend you sleep 8 hours a night and have 960 minutes left in each day. The American College Sports Medicine recommends at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise at least 5 days a week to be healthy. Letís break these numbers down: we have 960 minutes in a day and it is recommended to exercise at least 30 minutes in our day. Exercising thirty minutes in a day is about 3 percent of your daily time. Thatís it! You donít need to spend hours working out, just 3 percent to change your life completely and live longer and healthier.

Cardiovascular disease and other medical conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity and depression can all be conquered through the power of exercise. Itís in your hands to make a choice to make the greatest change in your life. Now that we have figured out what time we have to use, letís find out ďhow?Ē

One of the best ways to stay active is to engage in activities that you enjoy such as walking with friends at the park, joining a local gym, participating in local recreational activities, hiking trails, walking your dog, biking around town. There are so many opportunities to engage in a healthier life.

Not only is exercising important to living a long happy life, so is our diet. Yes I said it: the ĎD word,í DIET. Now, diet doesnít have to be hard or complicated, but sometimes it seems like finding a needle in a haystack. Where do you start?

Well letís go back to the basics - eating from home. If youíre eating fast foods for convenience you can pay a heavy price, but by eating at home you can control what you eat and choose healthier options such as low-fat dairy products, whole grains, lean meats, fresh fruit and vegetables. On the contrary, a tastier home-cooked meal can make you feel good verses a processed meal thatís shelf life is more than a year oldÖyum.

Now the choice is in your hands to make the greatest change in your life. Will you wake up tomorrow and decide to have a healthier life, drive past that easy fast-food option for lunch and cook at home, or spend 3 percent of your day exercising? Maybe one day we can all say Ďyesí to 3 percent and live longer, happier lives.

This column by Ashley Cambanis, personal trainer at Anytime Fitness in Stephenville. Reach Ashley by email at