Maintaining Health Resolutions
HHS experts offer advice on staying the course for your New Year's goals.
Lane Yahiro (middle) preaches persistence, yet patience when it comes to losing weight. (Photo by Mark Simons)
From matters of the healthy heart to better money management, many of us resolve to change our ways as each new year begins. Weight loss goals, personal finance reclamation projects and stress reducers top many resolution lists. Hopefully, some two months into 2013, you’re still on target toward that healthier you.
Purdue's College of Health and Human Sciences (HHS) is teeming with faculty experts looking at the everyday challenges we all face. Based on HHS faculty research findings, to follow is some solicited advice for keeping your 2013 resolutions alive and well.
Before exercise: Get SMART
Before you actively engage in any type of new exercise program, Lane Yahiro suggests you come up with an action plan. "The most difficult thing for people starting an exercise program is setting realistic goals," says Yahiro, clinical associate professor of health and kinesiology and director of Purdue's Ismail Center. "It's not very realistic, and more importantly, not very healthy to want to lose 20 pounds in four weeks before your 20th high school reunion."
Goals, Yahiro says, need to be SMART (specific, measurable, action-oriented, realistic and time-sensitive). Speaking with a health and fitness specialist, health coach or certified personal trainer can help you determine a baseline fitness level, as well as that SMART plan of attack. Yahiro also preaches persistence, yet patience when it comes to losing weight. "It's recommended to lose .5 to 2 pounds per week," he says. "Losing 20 pounds can take close to one year. The gradual weight loss accomplished through proper exercise and diet is more likely to remain off and be much healthier for your heart in the long run."
A combination of aerobics and resistance training, along with stretching before and after exercise, maximizes your body's chance for change. However, Yahiro cautions that you shouldn't just listen to slogans when you're feeling the burn. No pain, no gain; don't buy it, he says. "Pain is a good thing in that it's a warning sign from our body informing us that something is abnormal. You can expect some soreness, especially if you are just starting an exercise program. What's abnormal is to do too much, too soon, resulting in delayed onset muscle soreness, and perhaps the inability to get yourself out of a chair."