{p}Sick of that extra 10-pound pouch? Tired of that sore feeling after a yearly visit to the gym? Discouraged with the person on the other side of the mirror? It might be time to get up, get moving and get active.

By midsummer, many people can’t even remember their new years resolutions – or if they even made one. Some folks determined to work out every day of the year, starting on Jan. 1, haven’t lifted a dumbbell since Jan. 2.

With budding technological advances, long days in the office and spending time with family and friends, it’s easy to get distracted. A person’s physical well being often gets pushed to the wayside – and that’s not a good thing.

“The sad statistic is that the current youth in our country are not going to live as long as their grandparents,” said Brad Kinkema, executive director of the Martinsville YMCA. “That is because of nothing other than our eating habits and our workout habits. We’re not taking care of ourselves, is the bottom line.”

Not being physically fit doesn’t just impact a person’s life expectancy. It creeps into even the simplest areas of an individual’s everyday life.

“Not only do you want to live longer, you want to live a good life,” Kinkema said. “A lot of times, people struggle with daily activities. They go to wash their car and the next day they’re sore because they had to bend over and get the soap. Keeping fit is good for just doing everyday activities.”

Making simple changes, like going for a walk during a lunch break or taking the family to an area pool after work, can make a big difference in a person’s life.

“Being physically fit and exercising can help maintain a healthy weight, blood pressure, blood sugar levels,” said Roger Adams, director of Henry County Parks and Recreation. “It can reduce stress and help prolong your lifespan.”

There are several programs, both indoors and outdoors, for those in Martinsville and Henry County who want to make a physical lifestyle change.

At the YMCA, the wellness center offers members more than just workout equipment. The gym hosts daily classes for all age ranges and physical fitness levels.

“It’s at a given time. You can put it in your schedule and stay committed to that,” Kinkema said. “And also, you don’t have to think about, ‘What exercise am I going to do today?’ You show up at 5:30, you take the class, and at 6:30, you’re done. It’s easy that you don’t have to put a lot of thought into it.”

Depending on the class, the time of day and the season, participation in the sessions varies.

“Sometimes we only have four or five in a class,” Kinkema said. “Some classes, like chair aerobics, we have high 30s or 40s, where you can’t even get in the room.”

Some of the most popular classes, especially for seniors, are the water aerobics, chair aerobics and walking around the track.

“The water aerobics and chair aerobics are real popular because a lot of the times seniors have joint issues, knee problems, so they can’t do high-impact programs,” Kinkema said. “The chair aerobics, they don’t have to get down on the floor or do anything that’s going to hurt them or hurt. Same with the water aerobics. It’s great because it’s no impact on them. Those two classes, specifically, are popular because of the social aspect of it. People like to workout when they enjoy it, when they can talk with people. That’s a huge part.”

Other popular classes at the YMCA are the Latin rhythms class, which focuses on moving through dance, tabata, an interval workout with 20 seconds of exercise and 10 seconds of rest, and cycling on stationary bikes.

Popular classes through parks and recreation include sports programs for area youth and a diverse variety of programs for the 50 and Over Club.

“We have a large senior population in our area. We have hiking programs where they go hiking on various trails. They go walking on the Dick and Willie Trail. They go bowling. They go kayaking on the river and on the lakes. They have yoga classes, dance classes,” Adams said. “There are a lot of different activities for our senior group.”

Adams noted that many adults enjoy personal recreation activities, like hiking, jogging and cycling.

On top of the physical benefits, exercising generally makes people feel good.

“In addition to helping maintain a healthy weight, it releases endorphins. It can raise your serotonin and dopamine levels,” Adams said. “Serotonin and dopamine are the feel-good chemicals in your body. So when you exercise, that’s kind of nature’s way of releasing those chemicals that make you feel good.”

If feeling better isn’t enough of a reason to get off of the couch and into some running shoes, the financial aspect of practicing an unhealthy lifestyle could be.

“It can save you money in the long run. Open heart surgery is not cheap. Knee replacement is not cheap,” Kinkema said. “These are things that are totally preventable, that our culture has sort of not embraced fitness and eating like we used to.”

Whether it’s in the pool, on a bike or at the gym, making time for personal physical fitness is an important aspect of self-care.

“Self-care involves regulating stress and maintaining a peaceful, positive mental outlook,” Adams said. “When you exercise, that releases stress. It releases those good chemicals.”

From staying physically fit to mentally healthy, getting up and getting active doesn’t just have to start on Jan. 1. Making healthy decisions can be a brand new resolution any day of the year.{/div}

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