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Resolve to be physically fit in 2014

Each year, nearly half of all Americans make New Year's resolutions. Two of the top resolutions made are to lose weight and to live a healthier lifestyle.

Many individuals begin running to get in shape
Photo by Stephen Lovekin

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, adults need two types of physical activity to improve their health: aerobic and muscle-strengthening.

The CDC recommends these combinations of aerobic and muscle-strengthening exercises for adults:

  • 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise plus muscle-strengthening exercise on two or more days each week
  • 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise plus muscle-strengthening exercise on two or more days each week or
  • An equivalent mixture of moderate and aerobic exercise plus muscle-strengthening exercise on two or more days each week

Although 150 minutes may sound like a lot, 30 minutes of aerobic exercise five days each week adds up to 150 minutes and will help you reach your fitness goals.

Give yourself the gift of better health in the new year by choosing one or more activities for each season. Whether it's winter, spring, summer or fall, being physically fit is the best gift of all.

Running is a great year-round vigorous aerobic activity enjoyed by many people of all ages. Join a running club to find others who share your interest.

The Lynchburg Road Runners Club has been promoting fitness through running for more than 30 years. Membership is open to all ages and ability levels.

Some other vigorous aerobic activities include playing basketball, swimming laps and riding a bicycle fast or on hills. Many athletes combine running, swimming and cycling by competing in triathlons.

The Iron Gate Triathlon Club is offering members-only clinics to build endurance in running, swimming and cycling in 2014. The first clinic is scheduled for Jan. 11.

Membership in Iron Gate Triathlon Club is open to those 18 years and older. The Angels Race Triathlon will be held in downtown Lynchburg on Sunday, April 27.

Hiking is a great way to enjoy nature while being physically active. The Appalachian Trail Conservancy works with 31 hiking clubs to maintain the Appalachian Trail, a 2,180-mile trail which spans from Georgia to Maine.

The Natural Bridge Appalachian Trail Club maintains ninety miles of the Appalachian Trail in Nelson, Amherst, Rockbridge, Botetourt, and Bedford counties, from Tye River to Black Horse Gap.

Membership in the NBATC is open to those 18 years and older. You don't have to be a member to join in the club's hikes which include maintenance and day hikes.

A family day hike is planned for Sunday, March 30 at noon from the Peaks of Otter Visitor Center. This is an easy way to introduce kids to hiking.

Moderate intensity aerobic activities include fast walking, pushing a lawn mower, playing doubles tennis and riding a bike on level ground.

In addition to vigorous or moderate aerobic exercise, you should also take steps to strengthen your muscles at least two days each week.

Try to do 8 to 12 repetitions of each activity to count as one set. Work your way up to two to three sets of each muscle-strengthening activity.

Some muscle-strengthening activities to try include:

  • Lifting weights
  • Push-ups
  • Pull-ups
  • Sit-ups
  • Heavy gardening
  • Yoga

Many people find it easier to participate in muscle-strengthening activities by joining a gym or fitness center. The Jamerson YMCA and Downtown YMCA offer many health and fitness programs and classes.

CrossFit, which combines movement, fitness, nutrition and community, has swept the country. Whether you're an elite athlete or an individual trying to get in shape, CrossFit may be a perfect fit for you. CrossFit Lynchburg is located on Oakley Avenue.

There are fitness centers located throughout Lynchburg including Planet Fitness at River Ridge Mall, Curves on Linkhorne Drive, Snap Fitness on Boonsboro Road, Gold's Gym on Wards Road, Classika on Bedford Avenue and Kinetix Health Club with locations on Fort Avenue and in Forest.

Be sure to check with your health care provider before beginning a new physical activity routine. Start slowly to avoid injuries and listen to your body as you increase the level of activity.

A new healthier you is just 30 minutes a day away. Resolve to be physically fit in 2014 and set your goals. Join an outdoor club or fitness center and get started with an active lifestyle.

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