BETHESDA, Md. — The home fitness craze during the pandemic is giving way to a return to the gym this New Year's Day, according to early birds working out before dawn at the YMCA in Bethesda-Chevy Chase.
“2023 is going to be a great year for everyone," said Montgomery County YMCA operations Vice President Barbara Moore.
"Just get out, start exercising. We really try to make it fun.”
According to an Ipsos poll, 55% of New Year’s Resolutions focus on physical activity.
Visits to gyms have rebounded to pre-pandemic levels, according to retail analytics firm Creditntell.
Meanwhile, stocks for home-based fitness products like Peleton fell in 2022 as people headed back to in-person fitness classes.
At the Bethesda-Chevy Chase YMCA, aquatics director Samory Senh said he encourages people of all body types, ages, abilities and disabilities to consider starting a fitness program in a pool.
“Something to take note of in the new year is to be gentle with yourself and the pool is a great place to start,” Senh said.
A water environment allows people with arthritis and other conditions to begin a fitness program.
One key to successfully keeping a resolution is not to go it alone, according to Victoria Yan Pillitteri who teaches Body Pump.
“There's always good music and there's always great camaraderie as you can see around the room here today,” Pillitteri said during her class early Sunday.
Tonya Dodge, an associate professor of psychology at George Washington University in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, says that goals need to be specific.
"Specificity is important for setting resolutions because more specific goals allow us to set a clearer path than vague goals," Dodge said. "Specific goals also afford us more opportunities for monitoring."
She also said it's important to establish shorter goals along the way because those shorter-term goals because they can let you know if you're making progress and whether you need to make adjustments.
Dodge provided some tips to help you on your New Year's journey:
- Don't be afraid to make a change! If you aren't happy with your progress, take that as a signal that an adjustment is needed. Sometimes, the adjustment can be in altering the resolution. As an example, if the resolution was to go to the gym three days a week but you only go once or twice, then maybe the gym isn't for you. Reflect on whether the gym is really the best fit for achieving the goal. Maybe walking at lunch or before work is a better exercise fit for you. The most important thing is not to abandon a resolution that's important to you.
- Take the long-term view! For example, if you've not gone to the gym regularly in several years and now you're going 1-2 times each week, you're getting there! Think about how it's about establishing a long-term behavior change and even small steps will have long-term benefits.
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