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Healthful resolutions often focus on weight

January 06, 2003|by PEPPER BALLARD

pepperb@herald-mail.com

HAGERSTOWN - Some people work out at a gym to maintain their weight and others go to lose it, but the new year brings new promises and, for the Richard A. Henson Family YMCA, a landslide of new members.

YMCA Member Services Director Sharee O'Haver said between January and March, the YMCA's 9,000-member fitness club is packed with new recruits lured by a weight-loss promise to themselves that too often peters out by mid- to late-February.

"Either they don't want the help or don't know how to get the help themselves," she said.

O'Haver, also a fitness instructor, said it takes 60 to 90 days to establish a schedule and get into the swing of a new routine that taxes your body on a regular basis.

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One of the ways to keep the body rolling through that crucial period is to develop friendships at the gym, slot a consistent time for regular exercise and not get discouraged when the weight doesn't immediately slide off.

Lance Strickland, 30, and wife Sherry Strickland, 29, of Hagerstown, are working out at the gym on a buddy system. Sherry Strickland is pregnant and said she needs to walk 30 minutes a day. Her husband just started working out, and although his fitness goals are broad, he said he'd probably like to lose 40 to 45 pounds this year. The Stricklands were walking on treadmills Sunday.

Walking or pool exercises are the best workouts for those starting a weight-loss program, O'Haver said.

She said water helps heavier people feel buoyant, making the transition from no exercise to activity a smoother one.

Jennifer Strong, 21, of Hagerstown, said she's renewing her New Year's resolution from last year. Strong has been working out at the Hagerstown YMCA for about a year, and this year she would like to lose about 25 pounds.

Chris Hudson, 44, of Hagerstown, plans to just tone his muscles this year. Last year, he lost weight doing more aerobic exercise and this year he plans to do more weight lifting.

Setting mini-goals works for Barbara Brennecke, 53, of Hagerstown, who wants to lose a total of 50 pounds this year, but 25 of those by mid-February.

She's going on a trip to Grenada in mid-February, a cruise in June and to Nepal in September and has set weight-loss goals for points in between.

Brennecke said running her own business allows her more flexibility in deciding when to go to the gym. She also has joined a hospital-sponsored weight-loss program that is helping her chart her progress.

For some, like Gene Wheatley, 42, of Hagerstown, going to the gym is part of a greater fitness routine. Wheatley likes outdoor physical activity and understands that keeping in shape between excursions is a necessity.

Working out with a busy schedule is tough even for veteran gym-goers.

"This place is all that you make of it," Wheatley said. "Time is so precious."

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