By John A. Ruibal, MS, RDN, CSSD
Many of us will have a New Year’s resolution to improve our exercise and eating habits. The problem is, by the end of January, we are back at our old habits. So instead of “resolution”, get radical and make a new year’s “revolution”.
Want to lose weight or get fit? Then start with exercise. Make it a priority to focus on increasing your endurance during January. If you are just getting started, pick an activity you can enjoy and can stick with for the month. To get started, begin with 15 minutes; then every week, add 5 minutes. By the end of January, you will have increased your endurance exercise to 35 minutes. Pick activities like walking, running, cycling or elliptical machine.
In February, add some resistance training to your routine. New evidence suggests two bouts of resistance training a week can help offset the effects of aging and muscle loss. Think fewer reps and heavier weights. This is one routine you do not want to do by yourself. Lifting heavier weights requires good form and a spotter. This workout can be done in 20 to 30 minutes and you are never too old to start. If you have been away from the gym for years, check with your health care provider to ensure you are cleared to participate. A referral to physical therapy to learn proper technique is a good way to get started.
March through June, take it outside. Lamar has great outdoor parks like Willow Creek and the new Lamar Loop that is 7.9 miles long. I have personally run this loop and it is almost complete; and it is a great way to explore the entire city. The local Prairie Pounders running group meets at the Lamar Pool every Wednesday night at 6:30 pm for an easy 3 to 5 mile run. They can help you increase your endurance.
During the summer months, hit the Lamar Pool to change up your routine. Not only can you swim, but they offer water aerobics classes. Think outside the box and sign up for the Tin Man Triathlon in August. This is a beginner triathlon so it is a great way to get introduced to the sport.
Lamar also has a great golf course. Skip the cart and walk the course. Walk 9 holes and you can get about 3 miles of walking in; 18 holes is good for about 6 miles. The city also has nice tennis courts by the pool. Even if you don’t play, just hitting the ball back and forth is a great way to get some lateral movement and a great way to increase your endurance.
When Fall is in the air, head over to Savage Stadium and walk and run on the track. Groups can be seen out on the track as early as 5 AM. This is a quality facility and a great way to keep you going when the temperature starts to drop.
Working with clients for the past 30 years, it typically takes about 30 days for someone to make behavior changes. So give yourself a month for the behavior to stick. Change it up to keep your motivation and make this year your “Healthy Revolution”.