Ester Marsh column: A new year for a new you

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 8, 2022

A new year a new you. That’s what we all desire right? Start the new year off healthier, happier, stronger and more prosperous. But as we all already know and have experienced, nothing is guaranteed. I am a strong believer that it all starts with us.

Changes need to come from within — you are the one to make that first step. You are the one to maybe say “I am sorry” first, to fix a broken relationship. You have to get into the gym and actually start your workout for a healthier you. Just purchasing a YMCA or gym membership isn’t getting you healthier. You have to purchase healthier options at the grocery store and restaurants to feed your body healthier foods. Set small goals that are reachable. Baby steps!

Instead of throwing your whole life around for that better you, begin slowly. For example, if you eat fast food every day, breakfast and lunch, start eating out only once a day. Then 1-2 times a week and/or make healthier choices when you do eat out more often. Going from couch to working out every day will most likely make you one of the many people who exercise for one to three months in the beginning of the year and then quit, until next year rolls around. Work your way up to the standards below. Three times a week can include most of these recommendations. Eventually, working up to more days per week or continuing your three days a week constantly will give you the healthy lifestyle you are aiming for. For starting an exercise program, the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) exercise recommendations are the following:

• Cardiovascular (aerobics, swimming, biking, running, etc.) — 3-5 days per week, 57-94% of your maximum heart rate, 20-90 minutes per session, large muscle groups continues in motion.

• Muscular strength (weight training, BODYPUMP or strength 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, 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.

Especially in these strange and difficult times, I love to add “be kind” to the new year, new you. At times this can be very hard but I have seen people turn around because I was, and am persistent. One of my personal goals this year was to watch my “potty mouth!” So far, 2022 has been very challenging as has my mouth! But I am not giving up. Each day, I will try again and eventually it will stick. So never give up, always try! And be kind to all.

Happy New Year everyone!

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