Working out a New Year’s resolution

ESCANABA – Now that the holiday season has come to a close many are grappling with their New Year’s resolutions. For those whose resolutions involve losing weight or getting fit there are many options to reach their goals.

“I’ve seen some new faces but a lot of the individuals that I’ve been seeing are people that have been coming but maybe haven’t been here in awhile,” said Amy Racine, YMCA health and wellness coordinator, noting not all of the people who chose to spend more time exercising in the new year are new to fitness.

For those that are new to making fitness a part of their lives, knowledge is an important part of exercising effectively and can help prevent injury.

“They want to be sure they’re using proper form while performing their exercises … I would highly suggest that if they have any possible health conditions they get clearance from their doctor,” said Racine.

It can also be helpful for people just starting out to have a good understanding of their current physical condition before they begin a program. Those who choose to enlist the help of a personal trainer through the YMCA can have a fitness assessment performed which can be used later to develop a specific workout plan. YMCA members can have the assessments done for free, however the fee for non-members is $35.

Personal trainers are one option for those who feel more comfortable in a one-on-one setting, but for those that are better motivated by group settings, fitness classes are another option.

“That might be more motivating (to) them … They might know a friend that has taken the class or is currently taking the class (and) they may rather do that with them,” said Racine.

While many exercises, such as push-ups and sit-ups, can be done at home, household objects may be able to provide a new twist to an old exercise.

“You can do some interesting things with just paper plates, soup cans, milk jugs, laundry detergent jugs – there are lots of different things that you can use that you have at home. You’ve just got to get a little creative and think outside the box a little bit,” said Racine.

Paper plates can be placed under a foot when performing a lunge, under hands during push-ups, or in other exercises that would normally be performed with a gliding disc. Jugs and other household items can be used as weights.

For the less creative, resources are available online, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention physical activity website at, which provides exercise suggestions and recommends how much activity children, adults, and seniors need.

While there is a wealth of exercise information available, not all exercise plans are created equally, and even the most reputable organizations do change the recommended methods for exercising so it is important to keep up-to-date.

“You read so many different articles on what’s the right way. Just like, way back when they used to say, ‘you need to exercise for an hour every day seven days a week.’ Now you can get a great exercise in in as (little) as 20-30 minutes,” said Racine.