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Ester Marsh: Make doable fitness resolutions

Q: What are reasonable New Year’s resolutions?
A: Happy New Year! It’s amazing — no matter which country or state you live in, everyone will have some sort of New Year’s resolution. Whether it is to lose weight, make more money, start a healthier lifestyle, stop smoking, decrease your cholesterol, you name it, somehow we try to do something better for ourselves and our family. Unfortunately, too many times resolutions are set so high that you have failed them before the new year has barely started. Of course I believe in a healthier lifestyle! I also believe if you have vices such as smoking and/or drinking too much alcohol, you should try to change that. Or maybe your eating habit is just way out of control and the only exercise you get is picking up your mail out of the mailbox.
The New Year is a wonderful time to start something good. Out with the “old,” in with the “new.” In my experience (and personal opinion), the major New Year’s resolutions are: lose weight, start exercising, stop smoking. (More family time, less TV and computer and increased spiritual time are also wonderful resolutions to set for yourself). Whatever you choose, make it “doable.” For starting an exercise program, the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) ,ales these recommendations:
• Cardiovascular (aerobics, swimming, biking, running etc.) ; 3-5 days per week, 57 percent to 94 percent of your maximum heart rate, 20- 0 minutes per session. Large muscle groups, continue in motion.
• Muscular strength (weight training, BODYPUMP, Powerflex or any other weight training classes); 2-3 days a week or more (make sure each muscle group rests 48 hours before you do strength training on that same muscle again), 8-12 repetitions, 2-4 sets of 8-10 exercises. Major muscle groups, full range of motion with a controlled speed.
• Flexibility (stretching, yoga, BODYFLOW, Estelatte); 2-3 or more days a week, go to mild discomfort, hold 15-60 seconds each for 3-4 reps. Static or assisted stretch, no bouncing.
Before you start any exercise program, make sure you check with your doctor if you:
• Are a male 45 years and older or a female 55 years and older (sorry guys!)
• Have family history of heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol etc.
• Are a smoker, a “couch potato” or struggle with obesity.
• Have blood pressure that is more than 140/90 or you are on medication for high blood pressure.
• Have high cholesterol (200 or above).
• Have blood-sugar levels that are pre-diabetic, or diabetic.
I have not met a doctor who does not recommend exercising. But for your own sake and well-being having a doctor’s clearance will help us trainers to set you up on a program that is suitable for you.
On Jan. 10, the J.F. Hurley YMCA is kicking off “Y for Life.” Something completely new for this program is a full assessment in the beginning and at the end of 10 weeks. We check your resting heart rate, body fat, cardiovascular capability, strength, endurance strength, core strength and flexibility.
Besides lots of other great things, it is a program that will help you safely start a healthy lifestyle in the new year and learn how to stick with it! If you are interested in finding out more about Y for Life, please join me tonight at 6 p.m. for an informational meeting or on Wednesday at noon. Both meetings will be in the board room. Also I am proud to announce that Weight Watchers (one of my favorite weight loss program) has made our J.F. Hurley Family YMCA its home, and I know they will be ready to help you succeed with your resolutions. This leads me into how to be successful with your New Year’s resolutions:
• Join a reputable weight loss program such as Weight Watchers.
• Join an educational, motivational, healthy lifestyle program such as Y for Life.
• Set goals that are recommended by the ACSM and other reputable fitness organization (which all have the same standards amd recommendations as I mentioned above).
• Make a contract with yourself, schedule your workouts, plan your dinners and set reasonable goals for at least two months in advance. (Plan dinners at least a week in advance.)
• Become active as a family! Just because someone is not overweight does not mean they are healthy or do not have to exercise. Doing this as a family makes you more successful.
• Don’t give up! If you “fall off the wagon” CLIMB BACK ON! For the month of January the YMCA has no joiner’s fee! We are ready for you, are you ready for us?
Ester Marsh is associate executive and health and fitness director of the J.F. Hurley Family YMCA.

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