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6 tips from our fitness expert on meeting your New Year's goals

New Year's resolutions tend to be as substantial and long-lasting as champagne bubbles. Setting realistic goals for yourself is different. It's key to getting you where you want to be in five, ten, 25 years and beyond.

But if you ended 2013 feeling out of shape and too low on energy to tackle your goals, start strong in 2014 with a new focus on your health and physical fitness.

Here are some tips to get you started from personal trainer Carol Teteak, Fitness Coordinator at Edward Health and Fitness Center at Seven Bridges:

Commit. No more diets; they're a temporary fix. Instead, make a commitment to a healthier way of life.

Get a check-up. See your Primary Care Physician before starting any new exercise program.

Cover the basics. If you're serious about improving overall health, fitness and stress management, all of the following areas are critical; two out of three won't do it:

  • Eating right – portion control, well balanced meals, and proper fueling before and after workouts will help your body work more efficiently. And avoid junk food most of the time.

  • Cardiovascular exercise – get your blood moving and your heart pumping with an aerobic workout.

  • Strength training – build lean muscle by working your body against resistance. Use your own body weight or an external source (e.g., dumbbells or a machine). Also work on stability, mobility and flexibility.

Work for results. Put forth the effort and the results WILL come. Avoid injuries by starting slow, progressing steadily and pushing past your comfort zone when ready/able. If weight loss is a goal, aim for one to two pounds per week.

Stay motivated. Whether it's dancing or kick-boxing, find active pursuits that you enjoy. Check out local fitness centers, park districts and schools that offer classes in those activities. Edward Health & Fitness Centers offer fee-based classes to non-members, as well as members. To keep you going, engage an exercise buddy and build in rewards for achieving mini-goals.

Ask an expert. Not sure where to begin? Hire a personal trainer or see a registered dietitian. A qualified expert in the field can help you meet your goals safely and effectively. To find out more about fitness training and nutrition counseling at Edward Health & Fitness Centers call (630) 646-7920.

You'll also find reliable fitness information from the American Council on Exercise at http://www.acefitness.org/.


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