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Getting in shape can seem like a daunting task, but here s a secret: it doesn t have to be. Making small changes in your daily life that contribute to better health can get you on your way to running a 5k, sleeping better and keeping up with your kids.

This Spring, KING5 Morning News launched the Get Fit challenge to inspire us and you to make life changes will make us healthier and happier. We asked several of our Get Fit Facebook group members to tell us their Get Fit tips, along with small changes they ve made to incorporate healthy habits into their daily lives. Through the Get Fit Facebook page, members share their fitness journeys and encourage one another to lead healthier lives. Hopefully you can find ideas here that will inspire you to Get Fit too!

First, it s important to understand what constitutes a healthy habit. Dr. Emily Cooper from Seattle Performance Medicine says deciding which habits are actually healthy can be tricky.

Be sure to look at evidence that the change is likely to produce better health, said Dr. Coooper.

For example, according to Cooper dieting and cutting out entire foods groups is not healthy.

Eating grains is healthy, cutting them out is not, she said.

Restrictive eating can deprive your body of important nutrients and constant dieting can even lead to weight gain.

When it comes to working out, exercise is healthy only if fueled, Cooper says. Make sure you grab a snack before your run or fitness class, otherwise you could end up getting injured.

To take some of the guesswork out, Cooper offers her own healthy habit suggestions like getting more sleep, not skipping breakfast, quitting smoking and taking time to enjoy life.

She also recommends taking recovery days from exercise sessions, staying adequately hydrated and getting medical screening tests that are overdue like mammograms, colon screenings, cholesterol and diabetes screenings.

And along with Dr. Cooper s examples of healthy habits, here are a few ideas that are working for Get Fit Facebook fans:

Tip: Find simple ways to get exercise every day. Moving more doesn t have to mean taking a fitness class.

Jennifer Towner: I walk to and from work every day. I get exercise and save money on gas, parking, and buying a bus pass

Carol Goldman: I started walking more and using a pedometer. I bought a Fitbit zip and love it!

Sheila Faubus Barnett: Since my commute is only 2 miles each way, I walk or ride my bike to work when weather allows. It gives me 20-60 min of exercise without much damage to my schedule.

Tip: Stay hydrated and drink more water

Peggy Sigafoos Giovengo: Drink a full glass of water with some fresh lemon first thing in the morning.

Alania McGill: I drink lots and lots of water including when I first wake up.

Lori Edgar: I drink water or iced tea (instead of soda).

Tip: Add healthy grains to your meals

Mary Kay Hart: I use quinoa, spaghetti squash (and other squashes), sweet potatoes and cauliflower rice.

Tip: Fuel your day with healthy foods

Mary Oaksmith Nichols: Eat whole foods (as close to original as possible), smaller portions several times a day and protein at every meal.

Tip: Use an app to learn more about your eating habits

Susan Jacot Butler: I used a calorie counting app and saw how many extra empty calories I was eating and was able to make healthier food choices. The app tracks calories burned as well, so I knew how much more to eat to net enough calories. Prior to that I would go through waves of eating very little and thinking I needed to burn it all off, so not fueling exercise, and starving my body. I tried a plan that cut out ALL grains and anything considered a starchy vegetable but then was cranky, and at my job as an R.N. couldn't think quickly (bad bad). So, while watching portions by counting calories, I don't have anything excluded, I do however have more awareness of how quickly I can put in TOO many calories by choosing calorie dense, low nutrition foods.

Dave Quiggle: Eat more frequent, smaller meals. Track your calories burned and consumed with an app. You balance your checking account; you should balance your food count as well.
Bottom line: making small changes can add up to big benefits for your health. Getting in shape doesn t have to be intimidating, so take a tip or two from our Get Fit Facebook fans. Walk to work, give quinoa a try or start your day with a big glass of water, and you ll be on your way to a healthier lifestyle.

Join the KING 5 Get Fit Facebook Group.

Read or Share this story: http://www.king5.com/story/news/health/get-fit/2014/08/04/13289032/