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New Year's Resolutions - Fitness 101

Written by Ben Dolewski, MS, MHA, operations manager at Page Memorial Hospital

Each year over 25% of Americans set a New Year’s resolution to lose weight or “get in shape.” It is estimated that 80% of adults who set their New Year’s resolution fail. However, 2018 is a New Year, and here are three ways to help you achieve your goal and stay on track!

Goal Setting

When starting a program it is important to set SMART goals. A SMART goal is:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Realistic
  • Time sensitive

For example, “I want to lose 10 pounds by March 20.” That is specific and measurable (10 pounds) and time sensitive (by March 20, 2018). The important part is realistic and attainable. Many people have high expectations that are unrealistic and cause them to get discouraged. Realistic weight loss is 1-2 pounds per week with proper diet and exercise. Further, you may not see these changes until after one month of exercise because your body’s neurological system (nerves and muscles) are adapting to the new routine. Start small and work your way up and don’t get discouraged!

Diet AND Exercise

It is important to incorporate a healthy diet, weight training (i.e. weight machines or dumbbells) and cardiovascular training (i.e. treadmill or bike) to your routine to have a complete program. If you’re looking to burn calories and lose weight, you’ll want to choose weight training exercises that are “multi-joint.” For example a chest press where you push out and away from your chest utilizes movement at the elbow and shoulder – therefore being multi-joint.

The difference in utilizing more muscles has two benefits:

  • It will burn more calories
  • You can target more muscles in shorter period of time (most of us have busy schedules and have only a limited time for the gym!)

In an ideal week, you’d try for a minimum of two days of weight training and three days of cardio exercise for a minimum of 20 minutes. If you can’t do 20 minutes in one sitting, break it up! For example: five minutes on the treadmill, break, 10 minutes on the bike, break, 5 minutes on the elliptical.

There are also cardio exercises that will burn more calories than others. For example – if you’re working out at the same intensity (e.g. your heart rate is the same for each exercise) the treadmill will burn the most calories, follow by the elliptical and then the bike. The reason being is the treadmill is weight bearing because your feet leave the treadmill platform when you move. In comparison, your feet will stay in contact with the bike pedal of elliptical. However, your body needs to cross train (utilize muscles in different patterns) and it would be beneficial to utilize all 3 pieces of equipment.

Be Resourceful

To set realistic goals it will be helpful to utilize resources that are available to you such as a personal trainer or group fitness instructor to assist with the exercise portion and a registered dietitian to help with the nutrition. Valley Health has access to all of these resources at all six facilities.

To learn more, click on the location most convenient for you.