These are the piano stairs, a fun little experiment by -- who else? The basic idea behind their initiative is that making something fun is the most effective way to change someone's behavior.

Before the stairs were altered, we clearly see the majority of people using the escalator. But when the stairs become a giant, working piano, 66 percent more people used the stairs. Why? Because it's fun!

Are people really so simple? To this I say a resounding, Yes! We love to be entertained. How else can you explain 24-hour cable and Facebook?

But for many, exercise feels more like hard work than entertainment. If you're one of those people, the best way to circumvent your excuses is to get creative and put a little fun into your workout.

Hopping on a treadmill for 30 minutes while listening to loud music is my idea of fun. But some people need more variety in their routine. Here are simple ways to shake things up and encourage your exercise habit:

  • Get a buddy. Find a friend at your fitness level and walk/run/lift weights together.
  • Relive your childhood. Kids get nearly all their fitness in through play, so think like a kid and find a play-based fitness activity. Consider rock climbing, dancing, and team sports.
  • Try something new: I was terrified of canoeing until I tried it last summer, now I'm trying to convince my husband we need kayaks! Exercise can challenge you in more ways than one.
  • Reward yourself: I swear that new workout clothes make me go farther and faster. Keep track of your stats and set small goals that allow you a new treat now and then.
  • Add variety: Sure jogging is the meat of your workout. But eventually your mind will get bored and so will your body. Change things up with a new routine, DVD, or workout style to keep things interesting.

I'd love to see more piano stairs and more people using them, but sometimes you just have to make your own fun.

How do you keep your workouts interesting?