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Take Small Steps

Illawarra Mercury

Wednesday January 14, 2009

KILMENY ADIE

Make realistic health and fitness goals in 2009, writes KILMENY ADIE.

Exercise: to some people it's a dirty word, but to many it's a recurring New Year's resolution.

For the past two weeks trainer Angela Saville has noticed an influx of people out walking, cycling and enjoying the Illawarra's beachside location.

The owner of Savvy Health and Fitness runs classes around North Wollongong and has watched as the number of people outdoors has grown.

"People have been walking about and it has been really busy till 7pm or 8pm at night," Saville says. "We have noticed there are a lot more people around. There's more of a holiday feel out there at the moment. I think people are still on their breaks."

This will change as more people return to work and students return to school. This is when, Saville says, fitting in regular exercise can be a challenge.

It is also the time when she expects to be busiest as more people enrol in fitness classes.

"I think a new year brings with it a lot of new intentions and I think everyone waits until Christmas and everything is over and then they're into it," Saville says.

"Getting into a regular and constant routine is one of the key points to success. (After the holidays) is when regular life starts back and that is when they will seek help and guidance."

If it has been a long time between exercise routines, Saville recommends talking to a professional trainer to uncover what method and practices are best for you. It is also important to start with small steps and one of the easiest ways is just to get out and walk regularly.

"If you are starting from scratch, start with walking," she says. "It's something simple and it's something you can build up into a constant routine."

Saville says she prefers not to describe a fitness focus as a new year's resolution because too often these commitments are not followed through. Instead, a fitness regime should be thought of as a goal for the year and within this ambition there can be short-term and long-term goals.

A long-term goal, for example, might be to lose 10kg and a short-term goal might be to build-up a regular walk from three times a week to five times a week.

However, she says, goals are no good without a strategy as to how they will be achieved.

One strategy a lot of people use, is bringing a friend or two into their exercise program. By planning to meet someone for a walk, swim or class you are less likely to find an excuse not to go.

Another aspect of strategy is the all-important planning of a week's exercise and, to balance your efforts, the week's healthy meals.

"The other thing I suggest is planning to get enough sleep," Saville says. "Knowing what time you are planning to get up in the morning and getting eight hours sleep is really important."

For some a new toy such as a personal music player, an exercise program like a Wii Fit or piece of equipment can be a motivator.

"New toys are fantastic to provide inspiration to get out an about more," Saville says, adding she recently got a Nike exercise companion.

"It works for me. With a new toy I'm running more to test it out and see how far I can go."

For those not keen to get up a little earlier in the morning, Saville has one final piece of advice.

"It is hard, but once you are there you realise how good it is early morning and you never regret it," she says.

To help inspire readers to stick to their own health and fitness resolutions, Angela Saville is kicking off 2009 by writing a weekly column for Zest. If you have any questions you'd like her to answer, email [email protected]

© 2009 Illawarra Mercury

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