A Resolution vs. A Plan
I was successful at it from fall 2004 through 2006, losing 40 pounds and dropping from a size 18 to a 12, before I was promoted to the Saline/Milan editor's position. While working in Chelsea, I was a block from the Chelsea Health and Wellness Center and made it a regular part of my routine. I'd exercise at lunch or after work. Often, I'd meet a friend there. We would work out on the treadmill for an hour and then work on our arms and legs. If it was the evening and I didn't have to return to work, I'd go for a swim.
But since relocating to Saline, it hasn't worked out for me. I tried the Saline Recreation Center and One on One Athletics. Neither lasted. I think I got spoiled in Chelsea. I loved the spa-like atmosphere, with the open floor and variety of equipment. I don't think I ever had to wait to use a piece of equipment, which was a problem at other fitness centers I tried. There was a hot tub in the locker room, a lap pool and warm pool, and a massage therapist on staff. One thing I really liked was the lockers with built-in locks in which you just plugged in a four-digit combination. Very convenient. There was also a track, and scores of televisions. Televisions are very important to distract me as I work out, so time flies faster.
Well, now I have a treadmill at home, in front of the big-screen TV in the basement. I just need to make a commitment to use it regularly. I think I'll start with that and then maybe step it up, as I think other forms of exercise are needed. I enjoy swimming, aerobics, step, and wouldn't mind trying pilates and yoga. I need to do it for my health, I know, but I'd like to drop those 40 pounds I gained back in the last two years. I know I'll never be a size 9 again, as in this picture taken in 1992 while I lived in Florida, but I can at least get active and see what happens.
But this isn't a resolution. It's a plan. I just need to stick to it.
While we're on this subject, here's a Q&A by Sue Collins with local fitness experts. It will appear in our Jan. 8 edition.
We asked three area fitness experts about how our readers can make healthy choices in the new year and discovered it’s all about setting realistic goals, integrating subtle lifestyle changes and having fun along the way.
Meet Helen Darling of Fitness Complete, who teaches group fitness classes in Milan at Dance XPlosion.
Hear what Carla Scruggs, director of the Saline Recreation Center, has to say.
And take to heart, the advice of Deb and Jim Winter of Curves of Milan.
Q: What advice would you give our readers to help them change their routine to be more fit and healthy in 2009?
Darling: Make small changes. Big changes can be daunting. For example, drink one or two more glasses of water each day. Exercise once or twice a week or 10 to 15 minutes per day. Add one or two vegetables or fruit servings each day.
Scruggs: Set realistic, small and attainable goals and then continue to set higher goals throughout the year. Get yourself a workout buddy. They can motivate you, and make you feel guilty if you try to skip out. Vary your workout, try all the equipment. If you start to get into a rut, try something new. Take a swim, the best full body workout. Or play racquetball, drop in on volleyball nights, try a fitness class.
Don’t use the same machine every day. Invest in a session with a personal trainer to learn how to use the machines and get a fitness workout catered to your fitness goals.
Winter: Prepare for exercise. What you do before you start an exercise program will be of greater benefit than you think. Putting yourself in the right frame of mind before you begin will help ensure long-term success, instead of being defeated before you begin.
Make exercise and eating better your friend, not your enemy. You must decide that a healthier lifestyle is what you want because of something that is highly motivating. Think of those people who are important in your life –– children, grandchildren spouse, parents, friends –– and the love that you share with them. You want to be around for them as long as you can and they want you to be.
Q: What is the biggest mistake people make in starting a new fitness routine?
Darling: Trying to change everything all at once, making one small setback and then giving up completely. People need to be patient with themselves. We all are human and we all make mistakes. We need to just get back on track and move forward.
Scruggs: Many people to not keep track of their fitness progress. We have cards available for members to track their fitness. Log how many minutes you are on a treadmill. Log how much weight or how many repetitions you can lift. Track your progress. You will impress yourself.
Also, not learning how to use the machines properly is a mistake. Take advantage of our fitness orientation class. Excuses are easy; don’t give up after two or three weeks.
Winter: There is no shortage of mistakes that people make, but one of the big ones is making it more difficult that it needs to be. The human body was designed to be active. Exercise improves digestion, increases energy and endurance, helps to reduce stress and anxiety, as well as affecting our brain chemistry by elevating “feel good” hormones.
But when you make the decision to get these benefits through exercise, you have to remember to not do too much. Research has shown that exercising 30 minutes, three times a week can be effective. While you can benefit from more, you don’t necessarily need more, especially if it’s going to make you quit. The more you do, the more likely you are to quit because you can’t do it all.
Q: What new developments or reminders will be surprising or helpful to people?
Darling: This is not new, but I believe that people don’t realize the importance of stretching daily. The difference in daily life is very noticeable.
Scruggs: Many classes now are addressing core and back strengthening. Many people have back problems and core training can help strengthen the back. Classes that we offer that address this are Bozu, yoga on the ball and pilates.
Exercise is for all ages. Water aerobics is a class that many older people enjoy as it is less stressful on joints. Our instructors are true professionals. They help each class member achieve their goals.
Winter: We like to focus on the Trilogy of Good Health: exercise, weight management and supplementation. If we are to be as healthy as we can be, we need to pay attention to each of these elements. Our bodies were created to work well and be healthy if we provide them with what they need, through activity and proper nutrition. Only by providing those things do we have a chance to optimal health.