Take a look at those brand new sneakers you unwrapped last week: do they inspire images of running up a stone stairway Rocky Balboa style? It seems after shovelfuls of turkey and frosty sugar cookies, 2014 will be the year to get healthy, just like the year before … and probably the year before that, too.
Statistics have long shown that resolutions get left by the wayside mere weeks into the New Year, including one that continues to be at the top of the list each year: losing weight. Even in the still-dodgy economy, fitness goals made by 51 per cent of Canadians beat financial objectives (in second place at 31 per cent) in 2013, according to the BMO Wealth Institute.
Those two pledges also beat out contenders like improving love life, volunteering, learning and career changes, yet only 42 per cent of Canadians reported keeping their fitness goals in the past.
This begs the question: When the numbers show little substance (19 per cent of Canadians kept their resolutions for 24 hours last year according to the Toronto Star), is it worth it to even try aiming for that most popular of pledges?
When it comes to getting healthy, Woolwich Community Health Centre fitness coordinator Laurie Buehler says, why not give it a try?
“It’s a perfect time to set a resolution and it’s important because everyone wants to be healthy.”
The key, it seems, is to focus on follow-through. The first thing to do is to put it in writing.
“Write down the goal and make sure it’s specific and attainable, not ‘I want to lose 100 pounds in a week.’ It has to an attainable goal. Put it in writing and maybe post it somewhere where you’ll look every day, like the fridge or the mirror; that really reinforces it,” Buehler said.
The popular resolution touches many Canadians in the community, perhaps why it is so widely accepted as a goal and contrarily, why unrealistic goals can lead to a dead-end.
Statistics Canada shows a gradual increase in overall self-reported obesity in Canada, with numbers rising from 12,389,673 overweight and obese Canadians aged 18 and over in 2008 to 13,099,396 in 2010 and 13,485,120 in 2013.
The least obese group seems to be women aged 18-19, from which 82,185 reported being obese or overweight last year compared to their male counterparts at 106,684. Men and women aged 55-64 had the highest numbers, with 3,213,664 self-reported overweight men and 2,410,701 women.
Overall, with health on many a person’s mind, says Buehler, making health-related resolutions is a good idea, it’s the approach that matters and, of course, the follow-through.
“I think New Year’s resolutions are good and bad, but people should try and make small resolutions that are easy to do, that are goal-oriented – to start small, maybe join a class or do something they enjoy. Usually they pick something that they aren’t doing already so that it’s hard to do. I think motivation is a really big part whether it’s from friends or family or co-workers.
“If they are trying to lose weight, there are lots of exercise classes that are being offered just once a week and one hour. We have classes that are very gentle and specific to people with different health conditions.”
The health centre offers eight different classes with flexible rates and free or accommodation services for low-income individuals on a case-by-case basis.
For more information call Laurie Buehler at the Woolwich Community Health Centre at 519-664-3794, ext. 403.