Getting Fit in the New Year

by Andrew Hrip

Around one-third of peoples’ New Year’s resolutions are focused on losing weight. Another 15 percent of these same resolutions are specifically focused on starting an exercise regimen, according to a study conducted by John C. Norcross, Ph.D. and professor of psychology at the University of Scranton, Pennsylvania. The promise of shedding unwanted pounds and becoming more physically fit, however, is a prospect that takes a significant amount of time and commitment to accomplish.
That being said, exercise doesn’t require you to exert your body to the max. Charlie Roberts, personal trainer at Gold’s Gym in Harrisburg, stated, “What I encourage people to do when they’re starting out is to, first, establish consistency. Consistency can reignite their metabolism to help them burn calories and help them grow stronger.”
To find the perfect kind of exercise for you, look at yourself and think about things you enjoy doing. It doesn’t matter if you take a jog around the block, run on a treadmill or even run up and down the stairs multiple times. As long as you’re giving your body a reason for oxygen consumption, you’re on the right track.
Some forms of exercise can even combine the elements of cardiovascular and weight-utilizing activities, as long as a weight is being opposed by gravity. Exercises of this kind include walking, jogging, playing basketball, yoga and weight training.
To see the most improvement, perform exercises that stimulate the large muscle groups, located primarily in the trunk, thighs, chest, back and abdomen. Roberts offered that squats are a good exercise for this purpose. Additionally, he said squats are particularly beneficial because they are compound, training your glutes and quadriceps. Roberts suggested starting with a set of 10-12 repetitions to reactivate those muscles.
Take it easy at the very beginning of a regimen and then, incrementally increase your intensity as you progress. Roberts explained, “The number one reason you want to start slow is to prevent injury and to stay motivated. The person who comes in on January 2nd and works so hard that they’re sore, won’t come back for four or five days. Then, they’ll get sore again and stop coming all together.” Remember, you didn’t become out-of-shape overnight, so you shouldn’t expect to get fit overnight, either.
If injury does occur, don’t disregard it. But, at the same time, don’t abandon your regimen. Speaking particularly about being in pain, Roberts said, “Train in a way that your muscle soreness subsides and you can keep going.”
A good nutrition program is another integral part of a successful regimen. First of all, set aside some time to plan out the kinds of foods you’ll be eating in the coming week. Second, consult your schedule and gauge the ratio between the days you’ll be eating at home and eating out. Lastly, make an appropriate list and hit the grocery store.
Beginning a regimen and not straying from it are both attainable. If achieved, they can go a long way to living a much longer life.

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