New year, new you: attainable fitness resolutions

We asked local experts for some fun ideas.

Losing weight, getting in shape and exercising are common New Year’s resolutions. Making resolutions is the easy part — keeping them is another story entirely.

Vague resolutions like “getting in shape” are difficult to quantify and it’s easy to get discouraged after a weekend of overeating or a week or more without a trip to the gym.

“With fitness-oriented resolutions, people need to be realistic and give themselves a break,” said Jim Engelhardt, City of Kettering division manager for Fitness and Sports. “Life is going to intervene and disrupt the best of intentions. Get back on that horse, don’t let interruptions in your exercise program defeat your end goal.”

One way to make goals attainable is to make them measurable.

“If something is measurable, you can check it off the list,” personal trainer Karen Gillingham said. “It can be exercising three times a week for 30 minutes or drinking six more glasses of water a day. You don’t have to start training for a marathon. Smaller, more attainable goals can be just as motivating.”

Having fun can also increase your chances of success. If you’re bored with your workout plan, it’s unlikely you will stick with it.

“You can avoid exercise program boredom and overuse injuries and experience greater results by trying new things at an appropriate level,” Engelhardt said. “Keep it fresh and challenging. This does not mean you have to spend all that time in a fitness center, either. Walk, do yoga, shoot a basketball on the driveway or at the park or go dancing. Make it fun.”

Fitness options are almost endless as recreation centers and gyms offer everything from TRX to spinning and yoga to Zumba. And, outside, you can hike, bike, paddle or fish just for starters.

Local experts weigh in on ideas to help you work on a new you in the new year and have a good time doing it.

Be a disc jockey. Disc golf is a fun sport that will get those new to outdoor recreation outside and walking. Englewood MetroPark features an 18-hole disc golf course. You’ll need a special set of flying discs that are heavy enough to sail long distances. – Tom Helbig, Five Rivers MetroParks special events and development coordinator

Catch some air. Mountain biking is a great activity for exercise and enjoying nature. Visit the MetroParks Mountain Biking Area at Huffman MetroPark and start out on the Twisted Trail. There are 8 miles of track that will move you from beginner to expert in no time. — Dan Sahli, Five Rivers MetroParks outdoor recreation coordinator

Chill out. Add a winter workout to shake up your usual routine. Try cross-country skiing on the red loop trail at Carriage Hill MetroPark or snowshoeing along any of the bikeways. If you’re itching to get outside, hit MetroParks Ice Rink at RiverScape MetroPark to try curling or broomball. — Kendra Foote, Five Rivers MetroParks program coordinator

Find treasure, lose weight. Geocaching is a fun outdoor activity that involves using a hand-held GPS device to locate a hidden object. There are geocaches all over the region to discover. Check out to find listed coordinates. — Amy Dingle, Five Rivers MetroParks outdoor recreation manager

Get out and paddle. Paddle sports like kayaking and canoeing are great core exercises. Beginners should check out Eastwood blue lake and lagoon, or Englewood North ponds. And there is a kayak rescue clinic coming up in February at the Beavercreek YMCA. — Amy Dingle

Get outside. Greene County’s 62 miles of paved trails can be used 12 months out of the year. We don’t plow the trails to remove snow so guests can also use them for cross-country skiing. We even have had a dog-sled team use the trails. — Greene County Parks & Trails Park Ranger Bill Nickell

Go fish. If you love to fish, remember you can fish 12 months a year at Spring Lakes Park in Bellbrook, which is stocked with trout during these cooler months. You can exercise your body and calm your mind while fishing. — Greene County Parks & Trails Chief Ranger (and avid fisherman) Chuck Frazier

Put your back in it. Backpacking includes the physical exertion of hiking with added weight of your camping gear. The Twin Valley Trail features 22 miles of backcountry backpacking. If you’re new to the activity, try hiking the 6-mile orange trail in Twin Creek, then add segments as your skills improve. — Erik Dahlstrom, Five Rivers MetroParks outdoor recreation coordinator

Take ownership or control of your own fitness and wellness. Don’t wait on someone else to motivate you, or cheer you on or support you. That will all come after you make the decision to be fully responsible for your own health. Stop trying to find the time to exercise, make the time to exercise. — Richard Munn, certified personal trainer and Kettering Fitness and Wellness Center coordinator

Train for a competition. Search for a local 5k or 10k walk or run in either late spring or summer. Develop a training program with that goal in sight and hold yourself accountable, because the race will. Training with a purpose offers timely incentives. — Jim Engelhardt, City of Kettering division manager for Fitness and Sports

Try something new. Set a goal to try a new form of exercise or class once each week for the month of January and February (eight weeks … eight new things). Both your brain and body get used to the same old routine. Variety is the spice of life and fitness. Initiate change and have fun while challenging yourself by trying new things. You might even discover new talents and other personal insights. — Jim Engelhardt

Use your bike instead of a car for short errands. You can save gas and get fit while you reduce your carbon footprint when you use your bike. Take advantage of the 100 new bike racks installed in downtown Dayton, or ask your favorite nearby destination to add a bike rack if they don’t have one. — Dan Sahli

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