January’s the time when everyone reflects on the past, looks to the future, and comes up with some ideas about how they’ll do things differently in the new year. If shaping up’s not on your list, it should be.
Here’s why now’s the right time to focus on your fitness, once and for all:
1. You’ll keep your skeleton strong—helpful today and crucial down the road, as the older you get, the easier it is to break bones (particularly for women). Keep them sturdy with weight-bearing exercise and resistance training. Think running and stair climbing for your lower body; dumbbells and resistance bands for your upper body.
2. Summer’s just around the corner. Yes, really. The current frigid temps may make it hard to believe, but swimsuit season will be here before you know it. Getting fit now will help you better enjoy taking advantage of all the fairest season has to offer, from soaking up rays on the shore to outdoor tennis dates.
3. Your immune system will thank you. Exercise helps your body fight simple infections like colds and flu if you happen to get them, and it lessens your chances of succumbing to some big stuff, too, like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis and cancer.
4. You’ll be tackling cool events in no time. Start training now, and you could be ready for the two- or four-mile Long Branch Beach Run on Feb. 26, the Bassman Sprint Triathlon in Tuckerton on May 6, or the Atlantic City Marathon on Oct. 21, to name just a few.
5. You’ll up your brainpower. When you’re working out, you’re improving your circulation, decreasing stress, and heightening your concentration, all of which help your brain function better. Many studies have shown a link between brain fitness and physical fitness, including one in the Annals of Internal Medicine that found that older people who exercised at least three times a week were about a third less likely to develop any form of dementia than people who didn’t exercise as often.
6. Now’s as good a time as any. Did you find it easier to shed pounds 10 years ago? Join the club. You can’t bring back the past; you’ve only got the present and the future—and if you want that future to be the best it can be, make the effort to get in shape now.