Red Deer-area gyms and fitness centres are full of new clients eager to shed post-Christmas turkey pounds.
But in a few weeks, lineups for exercise equipment will dwindle.
“There’s always a New Year’s rush and push to take fitness classes, then it all tapers off in February or March,” said Erin Low, co-ordinator of the G.H. Dawe Community Centre.
Real life tends to cut into good intentions.
The U.S. research firm YouGov, found 11 per cent of people break resolutions six days into the new year. Other studies have shown 35 per cent of resolutions are abandoned by the end of the first month.
When it comes to fitness, “everybody leads busy lives,” said Low.
In the pull between job and family obligations, she understands that finding time to exercise can be a losing battle — but that doesn’t mean surrendering and staying sedentary.
Low believes fitness is important enough to be scheduled into your day.
“It’s actually in my calendar,” she added, with a chuckle.
This means resolving to stop at the gym, or a fitness class before or after work, leaving home early enough to walk to a destination, or even jogging during a lunch hour.
Whatever the activity, it helps if you enjoy it, said Jason MacDonald, owner of Pure Fitness CrossFit in Red Deer.
“This shouldn’t be about staying on a diet or making a resolution. It’s really about lifestyle.
“You’ve got to make it part of your day. And, ideally, I think you should find something you enjoy to do — something that’s not boring,” he added.
CrossFit, a strength and conditioning program that mixes aerobic exercise with gymnastics and weight lifting, might provide the variety some people need. Others might gravitate towards yoga or spinning classes, weights, team sports, running, or dance programs.
MacDonald believes it can be motivating to come to a place where others are also active.
“Some people find that a group setting, where you can make friends and be accountable to each other, helps.”
Having a support person to keep you on target is suggested by Lorna Milkovich, executive-director of Red Deer’s Primary Care Network.
“You need to make a plan and be specific,” she added. If a weekly dietary or exercise objective is not being met, this will be clear enough when you check in every Saturday with a friend.
“The friend can ask you what (changes) will it take, and how can you get past the obstacles? It helps keep you honest.”
As well, Milkovich believes it’s important to set “do-able” goals. For instance, if eating better is an objective, she believes that preparing pre-cut and washed fruit and vegetable snack bags will make it easier to avoid indulging on less healthy snacks.
A common mistake is giving up once you slip up on your goal, whether it’s losing weight, stop smoking, or any other. Milkovich urges forging ahead, despite the set back. “You need to keep working at it.”
To help more Red Deer residents get active, the local Primary Care Network is supporting the University of Alberta’s UWALK program, which encourages people to walk more by tracking their steps online towards a goal of 10,000 steps a day. For more information, please visit www.uwalk.ca.
Various local gyms are also offering deals to boost membership. Since good habits take a while to form, MacDonald said Pure Fitness CrossFit is offering a free three-month membership to anyone who attends CrossFit classes three times a week over that period. “After three months, it becomes part of your routine.”