Getting Healthier In The New Year

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Arguably the most common New Year's resolutions center around losing weight and getting healthier.

While the Rim Country provides many opportunities for the outdoor enthusiast, local gym owners and others provide a variety of exercise outlets, from swimming, tai chi and yoga, to martial arts, pilates, weight training and step aerobics.

Adult basketball and coed softball are sponsored by the Payson Parks and Recreation Department, along with team sports for youth and teens.

"Exercise is highly underrated," said Dr. Lisa York of Pine.

"If a person did nothing else but exercise appropriately, they could find themselves with lower blood sugar, cholesterol, blood pressure and weight, and increased energy and exercise tolerance. Exercise can even increase libido and decrease depression," she said.

Gym memberships traditionally increase each year at New Year's resolution time.

Those with a winning gym strategy need to understand that getting healthy and staying that way is not about a quick fix.

"This is a commitment to making a lifestyle change," said Payson Athletic Club owner Louise Echols. "Whether your priorities are for health or looks, you must have a desire to persevere to get the results you want."

The end of February is the time when gym-goers start fizzling out, according to Echols.

"It's because they haven't seen the results yet that they want. if they see some, it's not big enough. That goes back to the lifestyle change."

Her advice: Concentrate on the positive. Find what works for you and your schedule, whether it is three times a week, five times a week or each day. Go with a friend who has the same goals, and when one person is less than motivated, then the other can be the inspiration, and vice versa.

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Henry Thomason destresses with the punching bag at Payson Athletic Club.

It takes time.

"Ask question. We're here to help you," Echols said.

Eating a healthy diet is another big component of health.

"The fewer processed foods one eats, the better," said York. "Eat fruits, vegetables and lean meats, but limit your intake of sugar, soda, caffeine, alcohol, white starches (e.g. white bread, rice, pasta, potatoes) and cheese."

York doesn't think most people need a formal diet, they just need to pay attention to the portions they are eating.

"Avoid seconds of anything other than the green vegetables, and try not to eat more than the size of your two fists at any one sitting," she said.

Unfortunately, there are no magic answers regarding weight loss.

To lose weight, one must burn more calories than one takes in.

Sleep apnea, hypothyroidism and metabolic syndrome are three of the medical disorders that can make weight loss difficult, according to York.

She said, "The best approach is small, regular, healthy meals as described above; lots of water, nothing except water after dinner, which should be three hours before bedtime; and at least 30 minutes of daily exercise that is vigorous enough to make you sweat."

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