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Seidel: Invest in fitness for a longer life

Published: Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013 5:30 a.m. CST

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At 30 days into the new year, it’s time to check the progress of our 2013 resolutions. If you’ve made it this far, you’re likely to adopt your resolution permanently. If you’ve strayed away from your goal, it’s never too late to turn things around.

When it comes to fitness goals, many of us become discouraged without immediate results. But instead of viewing fitness as a means for a smaller waist, why not consider fitness as an investment in your future? It’s not just about losing a few pounds. It’s about adding a year to your life.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cites that those who are physically active about seven hours a week have a 40 percent lower risk of dying earlier than those who are active for less than 30 minutes a week. So getting in shape means more than looking good; it means traveling the world after retirement or meeting your future grandchildren.

The CDC recommends adults get 150 minutes of moderate activity (or 75 minutes of vigorous activity) each week, plus muscle strengthening activities that work all muscle groups at least two days each week. Sure, 150 minutes may sound like a lot of time, but you don’t have to do it all at once. Try going for a 10-minute brisk walk three times a day, five days a week to achieve this recommended time.

Following these guidelines will bring a longer, enriched life. Fitness reduces the risk of heart disease, diabetes, metabolic syndrome and some cancers; strengthens bones and muscles; improves mental health and mood; and gives us the ability to perform everyday tasks comfortably and efficiently.

With any healthy investment, the more you invest, the more you’ll gain. More time means more health benefits when considering gym membership fees.

There are a multitude of opportunities to break a sweat in your backyard. The convenient fitness centers of the Geneva Park District offer affordable membership options. Monthly membership fees start at $21 at Sunset Fitness Center; $26 at the Stephen D. Persinger Recreation Center; and $30 for a gold membership to both centers.

Between the centers, membership includes access to top-of-the-line fitness equipment, free weights, stretching areas, clean locker rooms, showers, saunas/steam rooms, towel service, a three-lane track, iPod compatible TV screens and a two-court gymnasium. Both fitness centers also offer personal training, child care and group fitness class options for additional fees.

So whether you broke your resolution, stuck to it or never made one, consider what’s at stake regarding physical activity and your health. It’s never too late to invest in your future with fitness. And the earlier you begin, the more you’ll gain. Why not start today?

For information on the Geneva Park District’s fitness center memberships and recreational offerings, visit www.genevaparks.org or call 630-232-4542.

• Natalie Seidel is the marketing coordinator for the Geneva Park District and can be reached at 630-232-4542. Email her at editorial@kcchronicle.com.

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