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Posted: Monday, December 29, 2014

Getting a fresh start on fitness in 2015

With Christmas behind us and New Year’s just a few days away, we’re officially nestled in that narrow gap between holidays. We’ve given, we’ve received, we’ve fed and hopefully we’ve rested from it all. It’s this period when we begin to look forward, not only to New Year’s Eve celebrations, but also to our hopes for the next year. For many, of course, this means the ever-popular – and sometimes dreaded – New Year’s resolution.


In keeping with tradition, many of us will resolve to take better care of ourselves, which means eating better and working out. “I think they want a fresh start,” said Leslie Rutherford, director of the Blount Memorial Wellness Centers. “They have new motivation because it’s the beginning of the year, and they want to start out fresh,” she added.


To help people get that fresh start, the Wellness Center at Springbrook is offering a host of new classes and programs beginning in January. Its “Winning at Weight Loss” program lasts for 12 weeks, and is done in partnership with the Blount Memorial Weight Management Center. “We have registered dietitians who are a part of that, as well as the exercise physiologists,” Rutherford said. “It looks at two critical areas: what are you eating, and what kinds of exercise are you doing? One key thing that makes this class successful is that the participants have the support of others who are doing the same things that they’re doing,” she explained. “The goal is to create lasting weight loss.”


While January might not seem like an ideal time for swimming, the Wellness Center at Springbrook also is launching a new “Water in Motion” class in its indoor aquatics center. “This is the first choreographed water class in the region. It incorporates fun music and fun moves. It’s challenging, fresh and people really enjoy it. We’ve done a few test classes already, but we will be fully launching it in January,” Rutherford said.


January also brings the return of two popular programs: “90/90 Yoga” and “Shape Up for Spring.” “‘90/90 Yoga’ is a wonderful program, particularly in the winter because it helps with flexibility. It’s traditional yoga, but we do it for 90 minutes in a room that is 90 degrees or hotter. It’s great for reducing stress and tension,” Rutherford explained. “Also, we’ll be launching ‘Shape Up for Spring’ on Jan. 19. It's a six-week program that takes a small-group approach, and is designed for people who want the expertise of fitness specialist and a formal program to lose the last 10 pounds,” she added.


Whatever path you choose to take toward reaching your New Year’s fitness goals, Rutherford says repetition is one of the most important parts of success. “Just getting exercise on your schedule, and making it a part of your day is all it takes for some people,” she said. “Once you have a schedule, it makes it so much easier. If people can get through that first month to six weeks and see the progress that they make, most can really tell how much better they feel and how much more energy they have. Just seeing those small improvements is enough to keep most people going,” Rutherford explained.


“What also helps is getting to know some of the other people here, both staff and fellow members, and building those relationships. Our staff is really committed here. Most have been here for a long time, and they try to work with each person on an individual basis. It’s not a cookie-cutter approach. They’ve built long-term relationships with the members that we have, and they take pride in that. We try to find out what the members want and what can make things more successful for them,” Rutherford said.


Sometimes exercising also serves as preventative care. “We’re all so busy that a lot of people begin to think that exercise is not all that important. People don’t realize that in order to take care of everything and everyone else, they really need to take care of themselves first,” Rutherford explained.


“Staying healthy and making healthy choices are the cheapest things we can do. It’s less than going out to dinner for one night. You can come every day, work out and feel good. Our memberships break down to a little over a dollar a day. It’s the best present we could ever give ourselves,” Rutherford said.


The Blount Memorial Wellness Center at Springbrook is located at 220 Associates Blvd. in Alcoa. For more information about the center, membership and its programs, or to register for a class, call 865-980-7100.


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