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Ester Marsh column: The new year is a time to start something good

Happy New Year!

This is typically the time when everyone starts their New Year’s resolutions. Whether it is to lose weight, make more money, start a healthier lifestyle, stop smoking or decrease your cholesterol, 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 all the 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 and in with the new.

In my experience and personal opinion, the major New Year’s resolutions are: weight loss, start exercising and stop smoking, but how about more family time and spiritual time, and less smartphone, TV and iPad time? They are also wonderful resolutions to set for yourself. Whatever you choose, make it “doable.” When starting an exercise program (as mentioned in the past two columns), check the following first before your begin:

• Are a male 45 years and older or a female 55 years and older

• Family history (such as heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, etc.)

• If you are a smoker

• If you are a “couch potato”

• If you struggle with obesity

• If your blood pressure is more than 140/90 or you are on medication for high blood pressure

• High cholesterol (greater or equal than 200)

• Blood sugar levels (pre-diabetic, diabetic)

I have not met a doctor who does not recommend exercising. But for your own sake and wellbeing, having a doctor’s clearance will help us trainers to set you up on the program that is suitable for you.

This leads me into how to be successful with your New Year’s resolutions:

• For the first time, we are open on New Year’s Day from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m. When you join today, you get the month of January free.

• When joining a YMCA, you can go to any other YMCA in the country at any time with our reciprocity program.

• Run or walk the Resolution 5K to start your year off right. The event is hosted by The Forum and it benefits Rowan Helping Ministries. Entry is $10 or $5 plus 3 cans of food. Starting time is 9 a.m.

• Join a reputable weight loss program such as Weight Watchers to help you get on the right track.

• Set goals that are recommended by the ACSM and other reputable fitness organizations

• Make a contract with yourself, schedule your workouts, plan your dinners, set reasonable goals for at least two months in advance (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. (I call them “skinny fat.”)  Doing this as a family makes you more successful.

• Don’t give up. If you “fall off the wagon,” climb back on.

2018 is here, and you alone can make the changes necessary for a healthy and happy lifestyle.

I believe it’s all about your journey. You have to suck it up on many occasions but keep your eyes, ears and heart open to enjoy it to the fullest. Happy New Year!!

Ester Marsh, Health & Fitness Director JF Hurley Family YMCA

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