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Overcoming pitfalls of New Year’s fitness goals

The gym can be intimidating for some


For many, a new year means a new you.

Some 44 percent of Americans make a New Year’s resolution, according to a 2013 study by Pew Research Center. Of that group, 12 percent say they want to exercise more and 11 percent want to lose weight.

If you are trying to get back in shape in 2016, or just starting to work out for the first time, the road to better health can be fraught with potential pitfalls.

From gym intimidation, to staying on track or finding the right routine, heading into the gym can be easier said then done.

“I know some people get a little frustrated — the regulars who come year-round — that we get a big influx of people coming at the start of the new year,” said Kelsey Whisler, fitness supervisor at Goodson Recreation Center in Centennial. “I just hope those people will be welcoming and remember the first time they started coming to the gym and how intimidating it can be.”

Whisler suggests group classes as a way of easing back into fitness.

“If you have a friend who has been working out, go work out with them,” Whisler said. “They will show you the ropes and make you feel comfortable and help you get through that gym culture.”

Sharise Plescia, a personal trainer at Lone Tree Recreation Center, said accountability and consistency are keys to seeing results.

“One thing I tell people when I’m working with them is hold yourself accountable for your health regimen,” said Plescia. “So whether you use a calendar or a watch or iPad — or however you keep track of things — make sure you schedule in some fitness time every day. It doesn’t have to be vigorous. If you know you have a full day of work, kids, whatever it is, and you only have 10 minutes, guess what? Ten minutes is better than nothing. You can make your workouts as vigorous as you would like in these 10 minutes.”

It’s also important to start low and go slow with new routines, said Hillary Roemersberger, fitness and wellness supervisor at Parker Recreation Center.

“Many beginners make the mistake of starting out too aggressively and end up tired, sore or injured,” Roemersberger said. “When people go out too hard they tend not to stick with their workouts over an extended period of time. Develop new habits that you can stick with.”

Friends Francene Rose and Barbara Feuerstein work out regularly at Lone Tree Recreation center with a group of friends. That camaraderie helps keep them invested in keeping fit.

“You have to have someone you are accountable to, not just a trainer, but a group of friends or family,” Rose said. “If I don’t show up, they come looking for me.”


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