21 days to a new you: Exercise daily

Getting more and better exercise doesn't have to involve expensive gym fees, too-intense kettle-bell workouts or anything that weighs on your conscience like guilt.
© MSN Healthy Living // © MSN Health

Let this be the year where you incorporate more exercise into your regular daily routine. Once you get the hang of making it a regular part of your day, you'll realize how much more energy you have, how much your outlook has improved and probably how much better your favorite jeans fit. It's as easy as incorporating easy steps into the routine you already have. Keri Glassman, author of Slim Calm Sexy Diet (Rodale, March 2012), recommends choosing a form of exercise that works with your lifestyle. "Pick an activity that works for you," says Glassman. Ready? Let's get moving!

By Anne Hurley for MSN Healthy Living

1 of 23 Running shoes (Mike Harrington/Taxi/Getty Images)

Day 1: Swear off elevators for a month

Take the stairs to your office (unless your office is on the 55th floor), to the workout area of your gym and in your doctor's and dentist's office buildings. Make a point of seeking out the stairwells and avoiding elevators and escalators. You can get great cardio benefits from simply taking the stairs whenever it's feasible. To start, take the stairs down from your office floor, and after a week, take the stairs up, too. Soon it will be easy and you'll have accomplished a good mini-workout just by getting to work.

Video: New solutions for getting fit

2 of 23 Walking up stairs (Tom Merton/OJO Images/Getty Images )

Day 2: Get off a stop or two earlier from your bus or subway

If you can walk an extra six blocks each way during your commute, that's a practically painless way to get in more exercise. Not to mention, you’ll see new sights in your neighborhood or downtown. Try walking different routes in the last few blocks to your destination just to mix things up. You might stumble upon a cute local restaurant, a little shop you've never seen before or someone's beautiful garden. Walking even a little more makes the journey healthier for your body and more interesting for your mind.

3 of 23 Walking (Milton Wordley/Getty Images )

Day 3: Dust off your bike

More and more companies reward employees for biking to work, with cash or reduced health-insurance premiums. Consider riding to work one day a week. Bonus: You'll see things around your city you'd never have noticed from your car or the bus. And you will become pals with colleagues you might not know who also bike to work. In cities like Portland, Ore., and Seattle, there are webs of great bike paths that can get you practically anywhere you want to go around the city, avoiding major highways or pedestrian centers. It's great cardio and will help trim your legs, rear and waist.

4 of 23 Biking (Milton Wordley/Getty Images)

Day 4: Bring out some old exercise DVDs

You know you have some stashed away. Bring out a few of your old favorites – Jane Fonda, Denise Austin, Kathy Smith, Bryan Kest's Power Yoga, even Tae Bo! Vow to do one or more at least twice a week. Remember how much fun you had doing this, and remember the great results you started to see.

5 of 23 Exercise video (Biggie Productions/Taxi/Getty Images )

Day 5: Get a pedometer

Most sporting-goods stores offer decent and inexpensive pedometers, which can be calibrated to measure your stride. This handy gadget will help you monitor how many steps you take in a day and how quickly those steps add up to miles. Work up to 10,000 steps (about five miles) in a day. Take the long way around your office to your desk or around the block to your office. And, of course, those stairs you're taking will help, too. As the end of the day approaches, check the number of steps, and if you need to go do a "make-up" walk to get to your number, by all means, get out there. Now!

6 of 23 Pedometer (Ruth Jenkinson/Dorling Kindersley/Getty Images)

Day 6: Play with your kids

Get outside and play tag. Or toss around a Frisbee or kick a soccer ball around the yard or the park. Play Red Rover or touch football. Any of these activities are great ways to get more quality time with your kids – and maybe neighborhood kids who'll see how much fun you're having and drop in too. It also helps show your kids that exercise is fun and important for grownups, helping them cultivate a love and appreciation for being fit their whole lives.

7 of 23 Playing with kids (AE Pictures Inc./Getty Images)

Day 7: Sign up for a 5K walk/run

This is a great goal to shoot for. Make sure you have shoes with proper support, but don't get brand-new walking or running shoes right before your race; make sure you break them in a bit. Practice walking briskly up and down hills and vary your pace and intensity. If you can, try to run a block, then walk a block, in your training. Then, when race day comes, you'll have built up some stamina, and the excitement of the crowd just might push you to run a little more. But even if you walk the whole thing, that's a big accomplishment. It's so fun to participate in races you just may decide to keep doing them, maybe even one a month.

8 of 23 5k walk/run (Yellow Dog Productions/Iconica/Getty Images)

Day 8: Work out with a pal

Or more than one. Sign up for a series of yoga classes with your friend, the yogini. Try a salsa dance class with your spouse. Power walk with friends in your neighborhood. It's great to push yourself, too, and walk or jog with a pal who's just a little more fit than you are to push you. You and she will be having so much fun catching up while you stride, you'll solve a few of the world's problems while getting in agreat chunk of exercise. When your walk or class is over, make plans for your next one.

9 of 23 Running with friend (Design Pics/Con Tanasiuk/Getty Images )

Day 9: Support your friends who teach exercise

So you work with a project manager who teaches yoga on the weekends. Or a marketing copywriter who's just gotten certified as a Zumba teacher? Why not go try something new while supporting your friends? You'll have a great "in" by knowing the instructor and have a lot of fun learning something new and seeing your friend in a whole new environment – and in a full sweat.

10 of 23 Workout class (Andrea Wyner/Digital Vision/Getty Images)