The most common New Year's resolution people make is to lose weight or get in shape. But gym memberships and workout machines usually go unused after February. It's hard to squeeze a brand new of activity into your schedule, but there are small steps you can make to boost your activity level and work up to a new routine. For example, regularly wearing a pedometer makes you more aware of your daily activity, making it easy to push yourself a few steps further toward your goal.

Granted, no one change will transform you into an athlete overnight, but training yourself to make small changes can lead you to being more active. If you work an office job, it's easy to sit for eight hours, come home tired and sit for eight more hours. Regular exercise gives you more energy to work and play. Below are some ideas to inspire you to make your own changes.

Take the Stairs
If you live or work on an upper floor, it's tempting to take the elevator. Seven flights of stairs are intimidating, but there's no need to tackle such a task quickly. Try taking the stairs and use the quiet time to think about your day. You may enjoy the silence while everyone else takes the elevator. Taking the stairs builds your leg muscles, so the trek becomes easier with each turn. Working your thigh muscles and breathing deeply is cleansing for your body. Deep breathing clears your mind by sending more oxygen to your brain. Avoiding elevators altogether is the best option, especially during cold and flu season. Elevators are crowded and taking the stairs is a great way to avoid germs.

Park Far From the Entrance
The eternal fight for the first parking space at any mall or grocery store can turn the tamest of soccer moms into a lioness. But there are benefits to skipping the VIP section in the parking lot and heading for the cheap seats in the back of the lot. Often, there are more parking spaces at the edge of the parking lot because everyone else is fighting over the choice spots. It may be a longer walk to the end of the parking lot, but a trip to and from your car will boost your step count and bring you closer to your healthy goals. Plus, by parking closer to the exit, you avoid traffic and crazy drivers on your way out.

Walk, Bike or Use Public Transportation
With rising gas prices and vehicle emissions hurting our environment, the greenest option for transportation is truly the best. Even if you don't walk the entire distance to your place of work or anywhere, walking to the nearest public transportation can boost your step count and make a big difference. Besides, public transportation benefits your whole community when your fares return to your city and ensures everyone in your community can have a safe commute to work or school.

If you can, try walking all the way to your destination. Walking is a good way to get to know your area and catch things you may miss on your way to work in a car. And biking isn't just for kids anymore. More and more adults are choosing to strap on their helmets and go for a ride. Biking is best in urban areas, but it s also a great option if you don't live near public transportation.



Take a Break
If you work in an office, it's easy to sit down all day and still be tired when you get home. Take a short walk around the office, stretch often or opt to use a bathroom far from your desk. Staring at glowing screens for eight hours puts a strain on your eyes and brain, so give yourself a break. Walk around the building and enjoy your surroundings.

A short office walk is not only good for your health, it can also boost socializing and team building with your coworkers. Tighter bonds with your colleagues means more productive work and a happier work environment. It's also a great way to refocus your energy or brainstorm if you're stuck on a project.

Most Importantly, Play
Your pets and children want to play. Playtime doesn't have to be complicated to help you be more active and healthy. Take the dogs for a walk or the kids to the park. Play a game of tag or Red Rover with your family. Playing with little ones, furry or otherwise, builds stronger bonds and relieves stress for everyone. When you take them to the park, don't watch from the bench. Play tag, catch or race. When you play, you create valuable memories and bonds with your kids, and you ll be setting a good example and establishing active habits for your whole family.

It's important to get your heart rate moving for at least 30 minutes a day to keep your body strong. Despite all the gym memberships people purchase in January, a strong body doesn't require expensive workout equipment to stay strong. Even small changes and simple choices to be more active will make a noticeable difference in your daily routine.

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