By Caleb Lunette
Signal Senior Staff Writer
Once again, that time of year has arrived when the ornaments are taken down, the tree is dropped into the street, and the weights that have been sitting in your closet are once again crying out to be removed.
For many people, this time of year can be a return to the regular, more soothing, patterned way of life, with the bustle and buzz of the holidays now behind you. But for many people, the stress, while not always present, remains as those pesky weights and resolutions about fitness and health become even stronger.
But don’t feel alone in this. According to a University of Scranton study published in 2017, researchers reported that almost 50% of Americans make New Year’s resolutions, but only 8% end up achieving their goals.
“Often the problem is that our big expectations can suddenly seem unachievable,” reads the 2017 report. “In such cases, consider trading big goals for small, easy-to-follow commitments that address changes in behavior and take it one day at a time.”
This scientific research into the causes of failure to meet our January 1 goals is supported by local experts here in the Santa Clarita Valley, particularly as it relates to exercise.
Along with the many other services they provide free to community members, officials at Bella Vida Senior Center on Golden Valley Road say they have always strived to provide a wide range of services to local seniors, especially when it’s about providing with graduated training courses.
“I think it’s important for everyone, especially as people get older, to have contact with their doctor because everyone is different,” said Blyth Birchall, events coordinator at the SCV Senior Center. . “Everyone has different physical limitations and I think it’s important to respect them.”
Birchall said the center’s free physical activity programs keep busy and tight-knit among regular attendees.
“Here at the Senior Center, we have a nice variety of activities that people can participate in, (including) Zumba five days a week…for people who are feeling a little more frisky,” Birchall said. “But we also have things like the Pilates chairs, which are like a Pilates class, but it’s all done from the safety of the chair.”
While some may find it harder than others to admit that their athleticism has declined in their later years, Birchall said the general sentiment of people returning to training at the center to fulfill their New Year’s resolutions and their fitness goals, despite the pandemic having greatly dampened the Senior Center’s class capacity, brings a sense of excitement to all involved.
“They can take these classes with people who are of a similar mindset and age group and they get the camaraderie,” Birchall said. “You can see relationships forming in these classes, and soon they are holding each other accountable when it comes to showing up – just like when they were younger.”
According to Andy Leskin, Director of Membership Services for Henry Mayo Fitness and Health.
Leskin said that in his 30 years of working in the health and fitness field, he’s seen many of the same themes arise for people when they feel they’re not achieving their goals. at this time of year.
“Sit down and make sure the goals are realistic for you, make sure your timeline is realistic,” Leskin said. “If you’ve had a sedentary lifestyle for a year, you’re not going to get back in shape in two weeks.”
“Make goals small enough that they become habit-based,” he added.
According to Henry Mayo’s expert, he tells many of his clients that their goal shouldn’t be to make drastic change overnight – ultimately burning out in the gym and embracing “warrior syndrome”. of the weekend”.
No matter where you are in life, he said, the key to successfully transitioning or returning to a healthy lifestyle starts with brushing your teeth as usual.
“I tell my clients who are trying to lose weight, ‘brush your teeth after dinner,'” he said. “Because now you have fresh breath and are less likely to eat dessert.”
Leskin also added that brushing your teeth on a set schedule is a small step in training you — creating your first “statement of confidence” — toward good healthy habits, and away from the ones you wanted to change in the first place.
Leskin said one of his older clients he had worked with for a year let him know how happy she was to have managed to lift a crate of water from the grocery store, out of his cart and into his car.
“Just celebrate that and enjoy the fact that you can go to the gym, you can take that Pilates class, not that you have to,” Lesken said. “You have to take out the trash, you have to pick up dog poop in the garden… and so you kind of associate training with chores, instead of knowing that you have the extreme privilege of training.”
For those wondering how to get started, whether young or old, Birchall and Lesken said it would be ideal to consult with a health and fitness expert first. However, both emphasized their belief and experience that it is important to find a pace and activity that works for you and stick to it.
“I always tell people to do everything in small steps,” Leskin said. “Don’t get overwhelmed; just make one change at a time.
Henry Mayo Fitness and Health is located at 24525 Town Center Drive, Valencia, CA 91355. For more information on educational opportunities and information offered by Henry Mayo Fitness and Health, visit their website at henrymayofitness.org.
The Bella Vida Senior Center is located at 27180 Golden Valley Road, Santa Clarita, CA 91351. For more information on the many types of exercise at Bella Vida, visit their website at myscvcoa.org, and click the activities tab listed on the home page. In-person and online courses are available.