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Staying in Shape this New Year

The Westchester Family YMCA wants to help locals get in shape this new year.

The new year brings promises of new year’s resolutions, and if getting in shape is one of them, the Westchester Family YMCA wants to help.

When kicking off an exercise plan in the new year, there are key things to keep in mind, according to membership director Lisa Covington.

“It’s super important people start off with a plan,” Covington said. “It’s kind of a process that has to be nurtured.”

The Westchester Family YMCA serves Marina del Rey, Venice, Playa del Rey, Inglewood and Del Rey as well as members from Venice and other parts of the city. The YMCA's “healthy, lifestyle counselors” help those new to the YMCA put a plan in place, according to Covington. They help outline fitness goals as well as offer important information about nutrition.

One of the counselors, Ronald Bennett, suggests people who are new to exercising but want to get in shape in the new year start off slowly.

“They can start with a walk first,” Bennett said. “The beginning of the journey starts with a good walk, and then build yourself up.”

Bennett also recommends stretching before walking and aiming for at least three days a week of walking “at a vigorous pace” for 30 to 45 minutes, he said.

The YMCA also plans to help non-members get in shape by offering a free boot camp the first week of January, Covington said.

There is a “My 30 Program” that aims to provide a way for members to share what their own 30-minute workouts consist of as a way to help motivate each other as well, according to Covington.

“It connects people with workouts they do and a 30-day challenge,” Covington said.

Fitness experts suggest instead of exercising alone, try finding a partner or two.

“One thing I try to encourage is just really get with a group,” Covington said. “Just find people who have the same interests. It just continues that motivation.”

While Bennett said most people are anxious to shed extra pounds, one thing to remember going into the new year is that losing weight should not be the primary goal.

“Everybody wants to lose weight,” Bennett said. “Focus on being healthy first.”

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