SOUND MIND, SOUND BODY: Time to revisit resolutions to lose weight

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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention more than 66 percent of American adults are considered overweight or obese.

Therefore, it is not surprising to find that weight loss is one of the most popular New Year's resolutions. As we move into the middle of March, for many of us those resolutions have started to fade. It's time for a self-evaluation. Setting reasonable goals, staying focused and having fun are the most important factors in sticking with a weight loss program, and the keys to success for those millions of Americans who made a New Year's commitment to drop extra pounds.

Our lives are so busy these days. Who has time for working out? Setting time aside for your workout is very important. Exercise can decrease stress, increase energy, reduce the chances of heart disease, cancers and Diabetes. In addition, it's impossible to understate the value of setting a good example for our children. There are many ways to find time to workout including: exercising early in the morning, scheduling your activities at the same time each day, setting an appointment with yourself on your calendar or working out on your lunch break.

Workouts can become monotonous. Mixing it up can help. It is important not only for your mental health but for your physical wellbeing. Our bodies are extremely adaptable within only 4-8 weeks of doing the same workout. Unfortunately for us, as the body becomes efficient at doing the old workout, the fitness level plateaus. Walking and running are two common and inexpensive ways to exercise. Your mind and body will stay fresh through changing the mode or the intensity and duration of your walking/running routine. An example of changing the mode would be adding another type of exercise into your program such as one or two days of biking or swimming. The intensity of the program could be changed by adding one minute of fast walking or slow jogging. Finally, changing the duration or length of time you are exercising is a great way to adjust the workout and keep your body and mind invigorated.

Don't feel like going at it alone? Put some excitement into your fitness regimen by joining a class. Fitness classes are some of the best ways to keep your exercise routine innovative and fun. People usually envision "old school" aerobics when they think of fitness classes. Fitness classes have come along way since the time of leotards and bandanas. There are many types of programs that you can take advantage of; mind body, cardiovascular, strength training, and combination classes.

Mind body classes are extremely important for overall wellness, increasing flexibility, core strength and balance while decreasing stress, and possible injuries. Tia-Chi, Pilates and all types of yoga are some of the more popular ways you can achieve a mind body balance.

You don't have to look far in Walla Walla to find your cardiovascular fix. Discover the exhilaration you can only experience at the end of Zumba, Jazzercise, indoor group cycling, water aerobics, aerobic dance, kickboxing, belly dancing, step aerobics or at any of our local dance studios.

Strength training is just as important as a cardiovascular workout. The American College of Sport Medicine recommends that individuals strength train two to three nonconsecutive days per week. Power Pump, stability ball, small group trainings and circuit training are just a few ways to meet those recommendations.

Combination classes blend cardio, strength and flexibility. These are great for people who want an all-in-one workout. Boot camps, martial arts, 20/20, Nia and boxing are just a few options you have if you don't have a lot of time.

As we march away from winter, find time to challenge your body, with stretching, strength training and cardiovascular workouts. Alternating your routine among these activities will keep you motivated and on pace to reach your goals by swimsuit season. Whether you do it alone or in a group, outdoors or inside, there are plenty of opportunities to keep your fitness resolutions in 2011.

Christy Druffel received her bachelor of science degree from Oregon State University in exercise sport science and fitness program management She has been working for the YMCA for the last 15 years and is the Director of Healthy Living.

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