Each year among the list of top New Year’s resolutions are fitness goals – lose weight, exercise more and eat healthier. These goals are needed in the United States, and particularly in Alabama, where the obesity rate is soaring. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Alabama is one of the top 12 states with the health problem, with 32 percent of adults who are obese.
Along with a healthy diet, added regular physical activity can help take off the pounds for a slimmer figure, but also will help take away many health risks.
Jessica Hales, director of marketing and events at Bender’s Gym, said she has seen the benefits of physical activity in her clients, first hand.
Bender’s currently has four locations – in Madison, Guntersville, Decatur and Hartselle.
Hales has seen clients whose diabetes have disappeared and their doctors have taken them off of their medicine. One client with Lou Gehrig’s Disease says working out helps his muscles, and for Hales, working out is a mood boaster, she said.
The CDC released a updated version of “The CDC Guide to Strategies for Increasing Physical Activity in the Community” in March 2012. It said “…there is strong evidence that children and adolescents benefit from physical activity through improved: cardio respiratory and muscular fitness, bone health, cardiovascular and metabolic health biomarkers, favorable body composition and there is moderate evidence that physical activity reduces symptoms of depression.”
The report also said the benefit of physical activity is even greater for adults.
“Benefits include: lower risk of early death, diseases of the heart and vascular system, diabetes, breast and colon cancer and prevention of weight gain, weight loss (when combined with reduced calorie intake) improved cardio respiratory and muscular fitness and reduced depression. For older adults there is strong evidence for better cognitive function in those who are physically active and moderate evidence for better functional health, reduced abdominal obesity, hip fracture, lung cancer and maintenance after weight loss.”
The CDC’s guide recommends that children get “60 minutes or more per day of aerobic activity with most of the activity of moderate or vigorous intensity and with vigorous-intensity physical activity of at least three days.” The CDC recommended adults, on a weekly basis, to get “at least 150 minutes or moderate-intensity activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity or a equivalent combination of both…” and also recommended that adults do muscle-strengthening activities that involve all major muscle groups on two or more days a week.
Having a plan and enlisting a good support group is a good way to stay motivated in any fitness routine, Hales said.
“It’s so important to enlist friends and family to be in place for challenges, also. Having a support group to help when you’re feeling discouraged too. Often if we can have someone to talk to we find out they have the same struggles, same goals too,” she said.
Many fitness facilities offer personal trainers, nutritional counseling, classes and programs with special incentives in addition to their cardio and weight machines, and free weights.
For example, Hales said Bender’s is starting the “Slender Bender” Challenge beginning in January. Those who sign up for the eight-week challenge between Jan. 1 through Feb. 18 are eligible for prizes and rewards. In addition, Bender’s theme for 2013 is “Tribe Benders,” to focus on group support.
“Events like our Slender Bender competition helps them focus on a deadline,” she said. “It’s not just about joining a gym. It’s about caring about the customers, healthier lifestyles, a better life for the tribe. We help each other.”
There are several home videos, internet routines and free outside tracks and parks, such as Sparkman Park in Hartselle, which would be good places to start a fitness routine. The Hartselle area also has several fitness centers, listed below.
1309 U.S. 31 NW, Hartselle, Ala., 35640
Bender’s Gym of Hartselle is a 24-hour-assess facility. The gym offers fitness coach counseling, Les Mills classes including the CXWORK a 30-minute core class beginning in January, cardio machines, weight machines, free weights, and tanning. Bender’s also is soon to release a smart phone app to help with motivation that will offer tips and information about nutrition, workouts, community events, races, and ways to workout outside of the gym.
1505-C U.S. 31 SW, Hartselle, Ala., 35640
Curves offers a 30-minute circuit workout that can burn up to 500 calories and works every major muscle group with strength training, cardio and stretching. The facility also offers guidance from “Curves Couches” on meal plans, working out and personal goals.
Hartselle Athletic Club
800 U.S. 31 SW, Hartselle, Ala., 35640
The Hartselle Athletic Club is a 24-hour-assess facility. The Hartselle location is staffed from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, and from 9 a.m. until noon on Saturdays. The club offers fitness classes including Zumba, Ripped, and yoga. The location offers cardio machines, weight machines, free weights and tanning.
Sparkman Civic Center
406 Nanceford Road, Hartselle, Ala., 35640
The Sparkman Civic Center is opened 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, and 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Saturdays. The Civic Center has a workout room that is open during operation hours, and a full-size gym free to use based on events scheduled. The center also offers aerobic classes at 8 a.m. Tuesday and Thursdays for $25 per month or $10 per class. Yoga is offered at 6 p.m. on Tuesdays, and cardio dance (similar to Zumba) is offered at 6:30 p.m. on Mondays. Yoga and cardio dance are $10 per class or offered together for $25 per month. Weight Watchers also meets at the center at 5 p.m. on Mondays.
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