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Resolving to Resolve in the New Year

During a recent radio interview, the host who was a doctor told me that he didn’t believe in New Year’s resolutions. I said that yes it is true, you have to have a lifestyle change to accomplish true change to lose weight or whatever it is that you want to “resolve.”

Yet, it is human nature to “sin,” with holiday cookies, cakes and other tempting foods that rear their beautiful heads during holidays. Holidays permeate most religions this time of year, as a part of our ancestors’ needing help coping with the darkening days of winter. The lights, food and festivities are all part of altering our crabby mood that increases with decreasing sunlight. Research has shown that most weight gains happen during this time, although the weight is typically not more than 5 pounds. However, these 5 pounds represent the toughest kind of weight gain to remove.

It is this constant lifelong yo-yo struggle with human nature that prompts fitness clubs like the one I work at to offer the best deals of the year now on memberships and training. As an Aerobics and Fitness Association of America certified trainer, I go over goals for the New Year and work on designing a fitness program that would be appropriate.

AFAA has a “Biggest Loser” program now affiliated with star AFAA trainer, Jillian.

I prefer a “Biggest Winner” program for my clients. For many, it is not about weight lost, but muscle or balance gained and maintained. Balance is probably the biggest area of exercise my clients focus on. As fat converts to muscle, the scale may not move. It may even inch up a little. For some, lost inches are more important than lost pounds.

Even for trained athletes, it is not uncommon to see one side stronger or more balanced than another. Try this to see if this is true for you: stand on one leg to see how long you can hold your balance. Time it. Then switch to balance on the other leg and time it. Do this 2 or 3 times. Usually you’ll see that you stand longer and more steadily on one leg. I encourage clients to try to balance on one foot for 30 seconds while brushing their teeth. If you’re lucky to have an electric toothbrush that beeps every thirty seconds, this is easy.

One of my favorite exercises for balance and core strength is opposite hand and leg extension from an all-fours kneeling position on the ground. First you extend the opposing hand and leg, then crunch it in, inhaling on the extension, exhaling crunching in. Doing this 10 times in a row, and switching to the opposite side is deceptively challenging. You may believe that balancing is only an issue for the elderly or unfit. But all athletes can greatly benefit from incorporating a total body and core-strengthening program to help prevent injuries.

Reprinted with Permission from “The Anna Maria Island Sun” 1/4/12