The Sports Beat for Jan 22, 1999

By Melanie McNaught

Well, we’re about three weeks into the new year and it’s time for a reality check.

How are those New Year’s resolutions going?

Still going to the gym four times a week like you promised yourself?

Many local gyms have noticed increased attendance and enrolments, as they usually do at this time of year.

Generally the first three to four weeks of January are their busiest time.

Then as resolve wanes, numbers return to normal levels.

If your willpower is as strong as ever; if you’re brimming with confidence that you will be fit into the new millennium, then congratulations!

And for the rest of us who are finding it hard to get out of our bathrobes and into our spandex — read on.

It’s time to dump this antiquated notion that our lifestyles will change magically on Jan. 1 — right after we polish off the shrimp ring and flat champagne!

I consider myself a dedicated fitness aficionado, but my energy level plummets along with the mercury in the thermometer.

Quite frankly, the cold, in combination with minimal daylight, puts me in hibernation mode.

In January, sometimes it seems I put more time and energy into dreaming up excuses not to work out then I do actually working out.

But I can’t be the only one who finds it almost impossible to throw off those warm covers to get up for a workout before work or class.

Most people feel a little tired and even a little blue after the holidays.

The hypnotic lure of the TV provides more excuses not to brave the cold.

The broadcasters seem to be sabotaging our good intentions by releasing a batch of new series and airing new episodes of our old favourites.

Soon there will be basketball to tempt armchair athletes.

Plus, the ice and slush make running dangerous, and there’s a longer wait for equipment at the gym.

As the excuses pile up, the gym membership card gets lost in the junk drawer and those shiny new cross-country skis get relegated to the basement.

Now, don’t get me wrong. Getting in shape is a worthwhile goal.

Adopting an exercise program isn’t easy, but it is perhaps the single greatest thing you can do for your health.

Health Canada considers it so important that in the fall it released a companion to Canada’s Food Guide, advocating physical activity.

Exercise reduces risk of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis and many other diseases.

Plus, it boosts people’s moods and self esteem.

Because exercise is so important, we shouldn’t risk getting discouraged and giving up on it altogether because we started during hibernation season.

The guilt accompanying broken resolutions might be enough to deter someone from ever again trying to get in shape.

Habits take two or three months to form. Why not start our get-fit campaign when we have the energy and drive to make it a lifelong habit?

Join the resolution revolution!

Let’s set April 2 as our fitness resolution date.

There are several good reasons for this date.

First of all, it’s not April Fool’s Day. Secondly, and more importantly, by then La Nina should have loosened her icy grip.

Spring is just around the corner: the snow is melting, the days are longer and warmer.

It is the traditional season of new beginnings and renewed hope.

It is a time when it is a joy to be outside, listening to the birds sing and feeling the sun on your face.

There will be charity walks and road races to train for.

If pumping iron is more your thing, you might have less of a wait for the weights at the gym.

And, if all this weren’t inspiring enough, spring means we’re that much closer to swimsuit season!