Experts offer healthy advice

Published 11:35 am Friday, December 31, 2004

By By AUSTIN NEILSON / Niles Daily Star
NILES - The New Year's holiday leads some people to make "resolutions" for the upcoming year.
Weight loss and increased exercise are popular resolutions which are not always followed through.
However, health organizations, nationally and in Niles, say they are not very difficult to achieve.
The American Cancer Society, along with the American Diabetes Association and American Heart Association, are encouraging healthier lifestyles for the new year.
Together, they have created a program named Everyday Choices to inform people of the benefits of exercise and physical fitness.
The organizations point to health risks, such as diabetes and cancer, as reasons for Americans to "shape up."
The groups point to the fast pace of society as one factor in the reduction of individual physical activity.
They suggest working people find at least 30 minutes a day for healthy, physical activities, pointing to actions such as stretching and short walks as simple, yet effective, methods.
They also note combining increased exercise with eating 200-300 calories less per day will help create steady weight loss.
Some health clubs in Niles also have advice and programs to help people become physically fit.
Janie Colton, Health and Fitness Director at Lakeland Athletic Club, said a major problem is people try to do too much, too quickly.
Colton said she sees many people come to the gym in attempts to lose weight and become fit. However, after a couple months, they stop coming as often, or all together.
Amy McKean, of the Niles-Buchanan YMCA agrees.
Colton said the biggest thing is getting started.
She blames inactivity, along with excessive amounts to food, for causing poor physical health.
She also said people must educate themselves and explore their options when looking to find a diet or exercise plan.
Colton said Lakeland is an ideal club as it is not large in size, allowing it to offer personalized training programs suited to a person's characteristics.
She noted the club offers a variety of activities, including tennis, group exercises like yoga and weight training.
The club's size also allows people who have busy schedules to get training done quickly.
Options are also available for people who are busy with work or would rather exercise at home.
The YMCA's McKean said things such as dumbbells and aerobic video tapes are great ways to start at home. She also said individuals at work could do abdominal crunches sitting at their desk or squats while on the telephone.
For the elderly and people with health concerns, McKean suggested water exercises.
She pointed to women especially, who are more prone to bone loss due to menopause and osteoporosis.
As for the recent diet crazes, Colton and McKean are skeptical.
Colton agrees.
Although Colton does see some good in them.
Although Colton said goals are important, they should not be only about losing weight, rather making a commitment to a lasting, healthy lifestyle.