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Ester Marsh column: New Year’s resolutions

I hope your Christmas was fabulous! And 2019 is only one week away!

So many people have New Year’s resolutions. Whether it is to lose weight, make more money, start a healthier lifestyle, stop smoking or decreasing 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 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. In my experience and personal opinion, the major New Year’s resolutions are: weight loss, start exercising and stop smoking, but how about less smartphone, TV and iPad time, and more family and spiritual time? They are also wonderful resolutions to set for yourself.

Whatever you choose, make it doable. When starting an exercise program, check the following before you begin. If you have a checkmark beside some of them, check with your doctor first before starting an exercise schedule:

• 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 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:

• This year again, we are open on New Year’s Day from 10 a.m. until 5 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 all of the proceeds benefit Rowan Helping Ministries. Entry is $5 plus three cans of food or $10. Starting time 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 your doctor, the American College of Sports Medicine and other reputable fitness organizations.

• Make a contract with yourself, schedule your workouts, plan your dinners, and remember to set reasonable goals.

• 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.

The new year is almost here, and you alone can make the changes necessary for a healthy and happy lifestyle.

I believe it’s all about your journey. Enjoy every moment of it.! Happy New Year!

Ester H. Marsh is health and fitness director of the JF Hurley Family YMCA.

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