Setting a huge goal like running a marathon or losing 100 pounds may not be the best way to get fit. These goals can feel overwhelming and cause you to give up when you don’t see instant results. Instead, set small, attainable goals that you can gradually incorporate into your lifestyle.

Give yourself the gift of accountability by signing up for a fitness class at your local gym. By having a place, time and people who you can count on, you will be more likely to stick with it. It becomes something that you look forward to and have fun doing.

Achieve optimal fitness by using your body’s processes to your advantage. Stick to smaller weights at first and gradually build your way up to machines. This way, you can work fatigue-prone smaller muscles first. Your larger muscles need less support from smaller muscles, so this is an optimal way to work your physiology to your advantage.

A great way to help you get fit is to find a workout buddy. Workout buddies are great because they can lend you motivation when you need it and they can spot you when you’re lifting weights. If you’re going to be lifting heavy weights, a workout partner is strongly recommended.

Dancing the Michael Jackson Thriller dance is a great way to get fit and practice for Halloween dance parties. Search for “Michael Jackson Thriller” on YouTube.com to find the music video. Watch the video once all the way through to get the big picture. Then, start from the beginning and watch five to ten seconds of the dance at a time, practicing the moves after each pause. After thirty seconds of the dance, go back and try to perform the entire dance up to that point. Practice until you have learned the entire routine. Your friends will be “thrilled” by your dance skills!

Making up your own workout routine is a great way to stay in shape without having to join a gym. The equipment that you use in a gym simply replicates activities that you might do on your own. Don’t have a step climber? Find some stairs that people don’t usually use.

Sometimes it can be difficult to determine whether or not your training program is too strenuous for your cardiovascular system. Prior to starting or intensifying a workout program, measure and document your heart rate immediately upon waking. This should be done for at least five days leading up to the change. After you have started or intensified your program, continue to take measurements on the days after your workout. An increase of more than 10 beats per minute indicates that your body may not be recovering from the change as efficiently as it should be.

As you can see, there are many better ways to gradually ease fitness into your lifestyle than making sweeping long-term goals. Follow the tips mentioned in this article for making small lifestyle changes to improve your fitness and before you know it–one small step at a time–you will be on your way to that marathon.