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Expert advice: get in shape, eat right

New Year's resolutions mean an increase in business at a local fitness center.

By Times staff writer

© St. Petersburg Times, published January 14, 2001

Americans grew fat on more than the stock market during the past two decades.

Recent studies show 27 percent of U.S. adults were obese in 1999, compared with 15 percent in 1980.

Incidences of diabetes kept pace with the Dow and the trend shows no signs of recession. Being overweight also puts one at greater risk for heart disease and cancer.

You don't have to be fat to be out of shape. With junk-food joints assaulting our sensibilities with every click of the remote control, promising supersized this and supersized that, many of us have become accustomed to life in the slow lane.

There is a way out, of course. A good diet is a good start but to really get healthy the body needs regular exercise.

Dynabody in Inverness is one of several fitness centers in Citrus County that can help put you back on track.

"More doctors are telling their patients they need to do some form of exercise," said Joan Jarvis, who owns Dynabody with her husband, Rick.

The couple recently took some time out to speak with the Citrus Times. They responded jointly to questions submitted by e-mail.

Q: Americans seem to be getting fatter and fatter. Why do you think this is?

Answer: Americans are consuming an increasing amount of fast foods, spending too much of their time watching TV and browsing the Internet. In a nutshell, they are not diet conscious and not involved in enough physical activity.

Q: Why is it important to combine exercise with a good diet?

A: They both go hand in hand. People who diet and exercise see quicker results and stay motivated longer.

Q: A lot of people make New Year's resolutions to start exercising. How much does business increase in January?

A: Business increases in January by about 25 percent. (The club has 700 members.)

Q: Of those new members, are they mostly women or men? What is the typical age?

A: They are mostly women. There is no typical age. Ages range from 12 years old and up into the 90s

Q: It's nice at first but keeping a daily regimen can be difficult. Of the new members how many of them drop out?

A: Consistency is the name of the game. Many people join with good intentions but aren't able to successfully work the gym into their busy schedules. Approximately 60 percent of new members drop out before the end of the year.

Q: What is the key to sticking with the routine?

A: The key is to have realistic short term goals and do an exercise program that you enjoy and keep it interesting. When you arrive at the gym begin your workout right away. Socialize when you're finished with your routine.

Q: How about working out with a friend, does that help keep one motivated?

A: Yes, that's a great idea. If one doesn't feel like exercising, usually the other partner can motivate him or her into working out.

Q: What exercises do you recommend for people who cannot make it to a gym or cannot afford a membership?

A: Walking, jogging, bike riding, swimming, or any form of exercise that keeps your heart rate up for a period of 30 minutes or so.

Q: There are a lot of elderly people in Citrus, what can they do to keep fit?

A: Dynabody has an indoor heated pool with five exercise classes each day Monday through Friday in which many of the elderly participate. One important thing to remember: It is never too late to start an effective exercise program.

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