How to Incorporate Exercise Into Your Daily Routine

First of all, I'm going to start off by saying that I'm still trying to incorporate exercise into my daily routine and that this is something I've been struggling with my entire life. You see, it's quite tricky: When I vow that I will work out in the morning, I quickly change my mind when my alarm wails an hour earlier than usual. After work I'd much prefer grabbing dinner and drinks with a friend or catching up on TV shows in the comfort of my bed than sweating on the elliptical. But as the summer approaches and my bikini body is far from ready, it's important now more than ever to make exercising a priority.

Here are 5 easy exercise tips:

1. Do you have stairs in your building? Then take the stairs. I happen to be on the 10th floor and as much as I hate it when my elevator is broken, walking up 10 flights of stairs is a great way to get your heart rate up. Sometimes in the mornings when I can't convince myself to go the gym, I create my own stairmaster and run up and down the stairs once or twice before getting ready for work. When you have the option to take the stairs in the subway, at work or at home - take the stairs. Just think of those extra calories you're burning.

2. Go on a walk to break up your work day. Sitting in front of your desk for eight hours, or even longer, is not good for your health, posture or stress level. Getting up every few hours to take a short stroll outside will get you burning some calories and will keep you calmer. If you're walking downstairs to grab a chocolate bar, this isn't going to do the trick. But taking a 10 or 20 minute brisk walk (and possibly buying a healthy snack, like an apple) is a great way to get you out of your desk chair and moving. Bring a work friend to vent and catch up.

3. Speaking of friends, get a gym buddy. Make a goal with a friend to work out together because that way when you try to talk yourself out of going to the gym, you won't only be letting yourself down but also your bud. Other people can be great motivation to hold you to your plan and prevent you from steering off course. You can also set rewards together, such as a shopping date or concert tickets, once you both reach a certain goal.

4. Find a fun alternative to working out on the treadmill. Exercise doesn't have to mean running on a treadmill for 30 minutes a day gazing at an empty wall. Spice up your routine with dance classes, kickboxing, a run in central park or perhaps a bike ride on the new Citi bikes for rent in the city. Taking exercise classes like kickboxing or zumba is a great way to stay motivated and do cardio for a full hour. Also, these types of classes usually have a weekly schedule, so you can book classes in your calendar.

5. Set realistic goals. One of my many downfalls of incorporating exercise in my daily routine is my binge dieting and exercising. I'll go weeks without working out and to make up for it will go every day and only eat fruits and vegetables. Obviously you'll see results quickly, but this isn't sustainable. The only way to create an exercise routine that will really stick is to set realistic goals such as: going to the gym three times a week, doing sit ups every other morning or cutting out that afternoon iced coffee with milk & sugar. Taking small steps with realistic goals is the best way to see lasting results.

Of course it's easy to say what needs to be done but the hard part is to actually do it. Well, I know what I need to do, I'm saying it and now I'm going to do it. You can too!