The most common New Year’s resolution is to lose weight and get fit. Sadly, it’s also the hardest one to keep!

I’ve written before about how to handle the challenges during the holiday season of temptations that have us eating too much. But now it’s more about burning off some calories.

Sure, it’s great if you can get to the gym on a regular basis. But if not, and even if you do, why not take every opportunity to burn off a few extra.

Remember, the rule of thumb is that about 3500 calories means a pound gained or lost. So if you can burn off an extra 250 calories in a day, you lose a pound in just two weeks! If you’re patient, just burn 120 a day and lose a pound each month.

Casual Exercise

The easiest exercises are ones you can do without planning or special equipment. Casual exercise means adding an element of exertion to the way you do everyday activities.

Important Note: Don’t hurt yourself! If you’re not used to a certain type of exercise enter into it very gently. It’s always best to check with your health professional before starting any exercise program.

There are lots of ways to be more active throughout the day. Here are some examples:

At Home or Work

One of my favorites is The Stand Up. Whenever you sit down, stand up again – one, two or even three times – before you remain seated. When doing a standing task, push up on tip-toes and down again. I try to stand on tip-toes as long as I can while washing the dishes.

Instead of watching television on the couch, stand up and do some stretching. Move your body – shoulders, arms, hips, legs.

Get some light dumbbells and do some curls and other movements to strengthen your arms while you burn off calories. I try to watch most of my TV while riding a stationary bicycle.

Out and About

Walk as much as you can. Park your car at the far end of the lot or down the street from your destination (during the day – not at night!). If you have a dog or dogs, walk them a little farther or an extra time or two each day. They’ll love it!

Going to an office, walk up a few flights of stairs instead of taking the elevator. If it’s a high-rise, at least walk up the first three flights, then take the elevator the rest of the way. And take the elevator down – it’s safer and easier on the knees.

While waiting for an elevator – or an appointment, or a bus or train – you can do wall push-aways, gentle squatting up and down, or rock up and down on toes and heels. When you get home from shopping, bring in one bag of groceries at a time.

For more suggestions, see my latest book that teaches The Zen of Losing Weight. Come up with your own list of casual exercises, and, little by little, those pounds will disappear while you feel stronger, more limber and healthier!

What healthy habits have you started this year to continue to feel fit and healthy? Do you love to walk or are you a fan of going to the gym? Do you make it a practice to get up from your desk or chair at least every hour? Please join the conversation with your own healthy strategies.

Joseph ParentDr. Joseph Parent is a highly regarded expert in Applied Mindfulness and Performance Psychology. He is a best-selling author, keynote speaker, performance coach and media commentator. His latest book is THE BEST DIET BOOK EVER: The Zen of Losing Weight. He offers personal sessions for sports, life and/or executive coaching.

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