January 5, 2012

Local Fitness For 2012

by Hannah Kiddoo

If you are one of the many Americans resolving to improve your health in 2012, you aren't alone. Year after year, health related goals make the top of the New Year's resolution list, and year after year, many fall short of meeting them. Keeping a fitness plan can be challenging, but with the right support and resources, a goal can become an easy, and even fun, reality.

Medical conditions related to diabetes and obesity are prevalent in Scotland County. Bill Dixon, MD, former Center Medical Director at Scotland County Hospital said that between July 2008 and June 2009, Memphis Medical Services treated 718 patients with a diagnosis related to diabetes and obesity; he also identified those medical issues as being costly to involved parties. Fitness and healthy eating are key factors for preventing health issues such as diabetes and obesity, immediately and down the line.

Regional Health and Nutrition Specialist Jennifer Mayfield notes that one key for meeting a health goal is moderation. "The biggest mistake that people make is trying to make huge changes all at once," said Mayfield.

She suggests setting a small, realistic goal, meeting it, and setting another. "It's just little changes each day," said Mayfield. She also recommends exercise and a system for tracking the calories and fat that one consumes, such as the free website myfitnesspal.com.

Numerous opportunities for exercise can be found at the Scotland County Community Fitness Center. There, an open gym, cardio and weight area are available for use, in addition to several organized classes and groups.

This year, the center will also be hosting dance classes, volleyball and basketball leagues, walking challenges, a "biggest loser" competition, and a variety of weight training classes.

Authorities at the fitness center say that the facility sees an increase in membership sales during the holiday season and a surge of participants after the new year. "A lot of people say 'Okay, I'm going to get in shape.'," said fitness center representative JoBeth Harvey. "Some follow through and some don't," she added.

If a lack of motivation poses a challenge in keeping a fitness goal, consider a program that involves working out with others and offers a support system.

Danelle Harris Bell currently serves as the leader of both a Weight Watchers group and a Zumba class at the fitness center. She says that the two programs complement one another and she also encourages those working to lose weight to keep an active lifestyle.

Bell stated that she enjoys meeting with her clients and seeing their progress. One of her group members has lost over 70 pounds while taking part in both groups. "It's a privilege to be a part of that journey," said Bell.

Social media resources, such as Facebook groups and YouTube videos are also popping up around the fitness center and can help participants stay focused on keeping fitness simple and fun while tracking progress and bonding with classmates.

On Facebook, Bell hosts a group called "Memphis Zumba and Yoga w/ Danelle Bell". Group members are encouraged to post feedback about class and suggestions for dances. She has also posted a few videos of Zumba workouts on YouTube. Bell said the purpose of uploading the videos is to connect with other Zumba instructors -- one generated over 16,600 hits in just 6 months -- but the clips are also great for those wanting to check out a class.

If the options seem overwhelming, Bell suggests just jumping in and trying what sounds fun. "If you don't try it you don't know if you like it or not. You have nothing to lose except maybe a few pounds," said Bell.

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