New Year’s Resolution – Fantastic or Flop?

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It’s June, and that means we are halfway through 2010.  So I pose this question:  “How’s that New Year’s Resolution working out for you?”  When was the last time you thought about it?  Do you remember what it was?  Okay, so that was actually three questions, but the point is – New Year’s Resolutions have an extremely low success rate.  Dr. Steven Kraus with Acquire Strategies Compatible with Your Life says that out of the 40-50% or Americans who make a resolution each year, a mere 20% of them actually keep it.  If you are like me, you fall into the 80% that break it – shortly after making it.

“It is simple to make small lifestyle changes that have big benefits on overall health.  All it takes is walking an extra 2,000 steps a day and eating smarter by consuming 100 fewer calories each day.”  The previous statement is from James O. Hill, PhD co-founder of the America on the Move program.  Cooperative Extension Services all over the United States have partnered with America on the Move to help participants in extension programs live healthier, happier lives.  The LSU AgCenter has gone a step farther by providing free pedometers to help track daily steps.

New Year’s Resolution – Fantastic or Flop?The America on the Move program is a six week walking program for adults and youth.  At the beginning of the program, you track your first 3 days steps with the pedometer provided by the LSU AgCenter and use the amounts to figure your baseline.  The goal is to reach 10,000 steps daily.  So each week you set a goal to add 2,000 steps to your baseline.  Remember – 2,000 steps = 1 mile.  At the end of the 6 weeks, the last 3 days are tracked and you figure your new baseline to get final results.

So if you have fallen short of fulfilling your New Year’s Resolution, why not start with small steps – increasing daily steps taken and decreasing calories consumed by 100.  On average, physically active people outlive inactive people, even if they start exercising late in life.  Walking may protect you from heart disease and helps prevent/manage diabetes, hypertension, osteoporosis and depression.  Walking has the lowest dropout rate of all other types of exercise combined.  It is gentle on your back and easy on your knees.  A brisk 30 minute walk will burn 150-200 calories.  So what are you waiting for?  Small steps can make a big difference in your overall health.

For more information or to sign up for America on the Move, contact Quincy Cheek at the Rapides Parish Extension Office (318) 767-3969 or qcheek@agcenter.lsu.edu.