9 Exercise Hacks to Get In Shape in 2014

by Nathalie O'Neill

Getting in shape tops many people's New Year's resolution lists. We all say we're too busy to fit in a workout, but exercise doesn't have to be such a time-consuming chore. The trick is to choose a fitness regimen that suits your personality and lifestyle. Who knows — you may even find yourself looking forward to your workout. Here are a few tips to liven up your otherwise sloth-like life.

1. Workout with a friend

Whenever I'm in a crunch with school or work, I find myself scrambling to make time for exercising and socializing. But these two cuties remind me that a friend can instantly turns a fitness session into a bonding giggle fest.

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2. Walk it out

Take a few minutes out of your day to walk instead of hopping on the bus. Better yet, step out of the house whenever you feel stressed out or upset for a brisk and calming walk — and bam, you just squeezed in a workout (and a self-therapy session) without even realizing it.

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3. Schedule workouts

Pencil in your workout so you're sure to make time for it, and schedule it for the time that works best for you. For some people, that's in the early morning, for others, it's at the end of the day. Figure out when you feel the most energy and work around that. If you really can't find the time, housework can burn a few calories.

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4. Think short term

Having an end-goal can be a great way to get started, but when you're not suddenly able to run a marathon after your first morning jog, don't get disheartened. Instead, focus on how strong and energized each individual workout session makes you feel. That marathon will happen before you even know it.

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5. Improve your posture

Not only does bad posture make you look less confident, it will also lead to back pain in the long run. If you're sitting all day at work or in class, make sure you take regular breaks to stretch and walk around. Try to exercise your back and shoulders – these muscles will help you learn to sit and stand up straight.

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6. Find something you love

When you're doing something you enjoy and happen to be breaking a sweat, you'll forget all about your initial workout dread. Find an activity you love doing. Try it all (including Prancercise, it that appeals to you). It could be squeezing a yoga break into your homework sessions or jogging up a storm in the morning sun before a long day at work. Exercising should be something that's at least sort of fun.

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7. Treat yourself to some workout gear

You don't need a whole new wardrobe to exercise, but treating yourself to some nice clothes once you've gotten into the habit of working out can be a great reward — and it'll entice you to slip into them again and again. And by the way, buying clothes totally counts as a workout — research shows women burn 15,000 calories a year shopping.

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8. Dance

Go out dancing. Go all out. If you're doing it right, it definitely counts as a workout.

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9. Exercise a little, often

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Exercising doesn't have to involve two hours at the gym. By incorporating short sessions into your everyday routine, you'll break a sweat and learn to cherish the time you're dedicating to taking care of your body. Because, to be honest, you'll never get that gym glow if you don't move every once in a while.

Images: Kyle Lease/Flickr, giphy, whatshouldwecallme/Tumblr, The Sweet Ashley Life, fanforum, Huffington Post, reactiongifs, stylecaster, nojesguiden/Tumblr,