Statistics show between 40-45% of all Americans make New Year’s resolutions each year. Usually on that list of resolutions is a renewed commitment to exercise.
But here’s the catch, those same statistics show about 75% of people stick with their resolutions for a week and the numbers continue to drop from there. Only 8% of those who start the New Year with a resolution will actually achieve their goal.
So with eating a healthy diet and more frequent exercise at the top of so many New Year resolution lists, what are some keys to reaching your fitness goals in 2016?
“An important step in being successful with any exercise program is setting some realistic goals. It is imperative that you do not rush into an extensive workout regimen,” says Dr. Rehal Bhojani, M.D.,FAAFP, CAQSM, Medical Director of the Sports Medicine Outreach Program at Memorial Hermann Sugar Land Hospital. “Too often people think they have to be feeling pain or discomfort or they’re not getting the benefits of exercise. That’s not the case.”
Dr. Bhojani recommends easing into an exercise program no matter your fitness level. “Start with some light cardio and slowly build up your stamina and endurance,” says Dr. Bhojani. “It’s going to take some time to develop a fitter body especially if the individual hasn’t been physically active in a while.
Dr. Bhojani also stresses the importance of replenishing fluid loss following a workout. “It’s important to get plenty of fluids back into your body within the first few hours following a workout,” says Dr. Bhojani. “By replenishing fluid loss your body will recover much more efficiently and may prevent delayed onset muscle soreness.”
Eating a healthier diet also goes hand in hand with exercise when it comes to New Year resolutions. According to the National Institutes of Health, holiday eating alone can result in an extra pound or two of weight gain every year.
A key factor in eating a healthier diet is education. Rita Connors, dietitian at Memorial Hermann Sugar Land Hospital, suggests taking time to educate your entire family on food. Connors believes the time spent discussing food and good food choices can lead to the development of healthier eating habits and a healthier lifestyle.
“Knowledge is the key,” says Connors. “You have to read labels and know what is in the food you’re putting into your body. Just because a label says ‘low fat’ or ‘reduced sugar’ doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the healthiest choice.”
Connors suggests planning snacks and having tasty, healthy, ready-to-eat options available so you won’t be tempted to make a less healthy choice.
“One of the biggest mistakes people make is to deprive themselves,” says Connors. “Every food can fit into a healthy diet plan if eaten in moderation.”
Memorial Hermann physicians and registered dietitians are available to get your New Year started off on a healthy path. For more information on nutrition programs available through Memorial Hermann visit memorialhermann.org.