Fit fitness into your lifestyle

(ARA) – New Year’s resolution time is here. Many of us focus on the new diet or exercise regimen that we promise ourselves we’ll stick to … until the first business trip or unexpected family crisis throws our routine out the window.

This year, instead of trying to fulfill an unrealistic New Year’s declaration, resolve to refresh your active lifestyle on your terms, doing activities that are fun and fit into your already busy schedule.

Lack of time is the biggest challenge to achieving fitness goals, according to a recent poll by IDEA, a leading organization of health and fitness professionals.

The organization recently polled more than 1,500 of its members to identify the top challenges that keep us from sticking to our fitness resolutions, as well as what is on the fitness horizon for 2008. More than 60 percent of those polled cited a lack of time.

‘Exercise is fun when you find a fitness routine that you enjoy and fits into your lifestyle,’ says Jake Steinfeld of CEO Body by Jake and Founder of Exercise TV. ‘Burning calories, feeling great and looking great on your terms – now that sounds like a plan!’

Consider one of the following to refresh your active lifestyle in 2008; who knows, you just might have fun in the process:

Downward dog – Relieve stress and burn some calories through yoga or Pilates. Classes are usually smaller than group fitness classes and are a great option for people looking to ease back into a wellness routine. According to the survey, fitness experts predict these activities will see the most growth in 2008. Calories burned in yoga or Pilates exercises: 230-250 calories per hour.

Drop and give me 20! – Already a popular group activity, fitness boot camps are expected to continue to grow in popularity. These classes offer non-traditional, in-your-face fitness instruction, hold participants accountable for proper nutrition and deliver noticeable results in as little as 30 days. If you enjoy being outdoors, this could be just the activity for you. Calories burned: 300 per hour or more.

Bring sexy back – Dance continues its resurgence as a way to burn some calories in 2008. Fitness professionals surveyed are talking about Zumba, a fusion of Latin and international music combined with unique moves that is based on the principle that a workout should be fun and easy.

Calories burned: 280-400 per hour, depending upon your ‘boogie level.’

Get Personal – While it’s definitely an obvious recommendation (82 percent of the fitness professionals surveyed recommended), engaging a personal trainer might be worth another look. Personal training provides a one-on-one, customized experience tailored to your individual fitness abilities and goals in a manner that is convenient for you. So, if you hate to use weights, a trainer can develop a program using resistance bands to achieve the same goals.

Calories burned: varies with exercise.

More, more more – There are many ways to burn a few extra calories staring us in the face everyday, all that’s needed is to take advantage of the opportunities.

Some of the most popular activities to stay active away from the gym that are recommended by fitness professionals to their clients include:
* Taking the stairs – Resolve to walk up three flights or less instead of taking the elevator. Calories burned: 10 per flight.
* Walking at lunch – Commit to a quick 20-minute power walk three days a week. Calories burned: 80 calories per walk.
* Playing with your kids – A quick game of tag can elevate the heart rate and just may sharpen your reflexes. Calories burned: 115 per hour.
* Gardening – Putting a bit more ‘elbow grease’ into pulling weeds and planting flowers may have extra benefits in the long run. Calories burned: 230 per hour.

So take some simple, positive steps toward a health lifestyle, like eating right and pursuing fun exercise.

Remember, weight loss requires a reduced calories diet and regular exercise. Make a New Year’s commitment to a fitter you.

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