Starting the new year by hitting the gym has become as much of a ritual as consuming all those guilt-inducing holiday treats.
With fitness on the mind of many central Albertans, local gyms are gearing up for their busiest month of the year.
‘We’ll probably see 100 new faces, or even more” in January, predicted Trevor Purdy, a host at Fit 4 Less gym in Red Deer’s Parkland Mall.
The City of Red Deer’s Collicutt Centre is also expecting a rise in pass renewals and admissions. Supervisor Denis Delemont said, “It’s a trend we experience annually,” starting in December, spiking in January, and tapering off in March/April.”
The question becomes how long will people stick to working out to boost their fitness?
Of the nearly two-thirds of adults who make new year’s resolutions with fitness aims, 73 per cent give up before meeting their goal, according to a recent online study conducted by Harris Interactive.
According to research by the University of Scranton, only about eight per cent of people achieve their new year’s resolutions over the long term.
The answer is to make fitness a lifestyle choice and not a resolution, says Duncan Ekvall. The 40-year-old feels staying active helps him feel younger.
Since Ekvall works overseas at an oilfield site that doesn’t offer many healthy food choices, he said, “I put on five or six pounds, then I come back here and work it off…
“I have a 10-year-old daughter and I have to keep up with her,” he explained, with a chuckle.
Goldie Fleming recommends sticking with a fitness routine for long enough to experience the endorphin rush
“I get a stiff back and sore muscles, but I feel better after coming here,” said Fleming, who’s retired and regularly meets friends for coffee after her workout.
“You push yourself and you go. Or you meet a friend” — whatever helps get you out the door, she added.
Purdy said going to the gym regularly can yield amazing results: “I know of one person who lost 120 pounds in the last year. His whole demeanour’s changed. He’s super positive now, and I love seeing that.”
A former chef for 16 years, Purdy resolved to get healthier, starting with walking more, rather than driving or taking a bus.
“The hardest part (about going to a gym) is getting here,” said Purdy, who works out for 45 minutes a day because he wants to keep exercise doable.
“It’s the best thing you can do,” offered weightlifter Clifford Rego. “You know what they say, an hour a day keeps the doctor away!”
It will soon become a healthy addiction, added fellow weightlifter Steven Csillag.
Delemont recommends putting aside time for a regular activity you enjoy. It doesn’t have to be at a gym — the city offers a multitude of options, from a walking/running track, to spin classes, to Zoomba (a Latin-dance style exercise), swimming and pickleball.