How to keep that New Year’s resolution to get fit

WASHINGTON — This is the busiest time of year for fitness centers and weight loss programs. But how many people who intend to get in shape will stick with it?

Not that many.

The dropout rate is incredibly high — in the fitness area, studies indicate it approaches 73 percent, according to Don Alley with Medical Exercise Trainers in D.C.

“People have these exaggerated ideas of what they want to do,” he says, adding that when they don’t see immediate results, they tend to slack off. Even worse, they push their body too far too fast and end up injured.

Those injuries often occur from lifting too much weight at the gym or using improper form. Alley — who works with injured would-be athletes post-rehab — says they include a lot of pulls, rotator cuff and knee injuries, and lower back strains.

He says resolutions are not necessarily a bad thing, but they have to be grounded in realism. The adage “you have to walk before you run” should guide every sedentary person seeking to become more fit.

“Consistency and commitment to a program that is within your scope is what is going to do it for you,” is his advice for the fitness-challenged.

It’s similar to the guidance dietician Lauren Trocchio gives her weight loss patients.

She says they often come up with goals that are unrealistic, “and they are kind of setting themselves up for failure.” Instead, they need to focus on achievable goals, which for most people is a weight loss of a pound or two a week.

Trocchio — who works with the Washington Center for Weight Management and Research, in Arlington, Virginia — urges those seeking to drop pounds to focus on their overall health.

She says weight loss is about far more than numbers on a scale, and that your diet can have a big impact on your cholesterol, blood sugar and blood pressure.

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