Let's face it: We live in an inactive nation where obesity has become a growing epidemic. More than one-third of American adults meet the criterion for obesity, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The good news is that it's never too late and never too hard to get in shape. The key, according to experts, is to make fitness a part of your everyday routine. Follow these four tips to get started.

Go slow and steady. Remember, you don't need to go to the gym five times a week. Small bursts of physical activity add up throughout the day. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) recommends exercising for 30 minutes every day to maintain a healthy weight. What's more, there are ways to work those minutes into your daily routine: Take the stairs instead of elevators, park further away in parking lots, or walk in place while watching TV.

Make time for exercise. You should never be too busy to exercise. After all, there are 1,440 minutes in each day, and all you need are 30 of them for physical activity. Plus, there are ways to multitask: Rake the yard, wash the car, or clean your house—just do it with enthusiasm and energy. And get your family involved: Plan a weekend hike through a park, a family softball game, or an evening walk around the block.

Keep fitness fun. Exercising doesn't have to be a chore. To keep it fun, meet a friend for workouts. Chances are, if your buddy is on the next bike or StairMaster, your workout will be more enjoyable. You can also watch TV or listen to a book on tape while working out. Remember, fitness doesn't have to mean tedious time on the treadmill; it can mean swimming, shooting hoops, or even shopping—things you already enjoy doing.

Get fit—even if you think your weight is fine. Although it's important to maintain a healthy weight, experts note that slim people who are inactive are also at risk for chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and hypertension. The ideal formula for success is a healthy body weight and composition combined with cardiovascular endurance, muscular strength, muscular endurance, and flexibility.