Sprint into the New Year!

Despite excessive efforts to resist the temptation of devouring holiday food, some individuals may have gained a few pounds and may be out of shape. Now, before panic and self-pity set in, there is something to consider: a way out.

The options of getting in shape are endless and effective even though they do require effort. Dieting is one way to shed those few extra pounds. However, without exercise, dieting may not be as successful. A healthy diet is key. Young people, especially women, tend to starve themselves, unaware of the fact that in the end the yo-yo effect takes place leading them to their starting point.

Additionally, consumers who use diet pills to increase their metabolism should be wary. Not only has the Federal Trade Commission sued various companies over their weight-loss products since the beginning of the year, but the side effects of taking these products can be extremely hazardous to a person’s health. If you are going to diet, you should take the time to do it right.

Sadly, dieting also means that chocoholics and junk-food junkies will have to bid farewell to sweets and unnecessary calories and instead replace them with vegetables and fruits.

According to many nutritionists and dieticians, eating three well-balanced meals is essential. One to two snacks, which could consist of a fruit or a vegetable are generally accepted as well. It is advised that individuals who diet should be sure there is always a three to four-hour break between meals in order for the food to properly digest and for the body to consume the nutrients. Many health experts agree that consumption of about1,200 calories is a great start to getting back in shape.

Exercise is another vital necessity in order to become fit. There are countless activities that can be done to help reach the desired goal.

While going to the gym and using the various weights and machines is one option, there are a number of alternatives. Taking part in a team sport, whether it is soccer, basketball, or baseball or even a recreational team, is a fun and healthy alternative to slaving away in the gym.

Jogging around the campus or on a track, whether at St. John’s or in a park, is a successful sprint into form and health. Daily 30 to 60 minute fast-paced walks are good substitutes for jogging. All exercise, including jogging, should be gradually increased. For instance, jogging for 10 minutes should be gradually increased to 20 minutes to increase the body’s resistance and ability to exercise to a person’s full potential.

If team sports do not cut it and jogging seems boring, there are fitness programs, such as yoga, kickboxing, martial arts, and Pilates offered by many fitness centers. Not only are these programs great for the body, but they are social events as well, and it never hurts to meet new people.

Additionally, listening to music during exercise has proved to be very beneficial. According to a 2005 study, in which British researchers had 18 undergraduates exercise on stationary bicycles to pedal either to silence or to “popular electronic dance music” on headphones, participants worked approximately 13 percent harder to the up-tempo music compared to silence. Plugging in an iPod or watching television may increase a person’s ability to do more. Exercise does not have to be a chore.

If time (or money) is an obstacle to joining a gym, have no fear; exercising in the comfort of home by lifting weights, doing crunches, push-ups, and squats may be the most ideal solution.

The road remains open for you. Now it is your choice if you will sweat it.