By Megan Ake

make@my.madonna.edu

Lose 10 pounds.

Revamp eating habits.

Exercise more.

Do any of these sound familiar?  If so, you’re not alone.  Several months ago, as the big, sparkly disco ball dropped to a familiar countdown in Times Square, millions of people around the globe entered into sacred vows with themselves.  Another new year meant finally starting that jogging routine or putting down the Big Macs for good.

Though it came with some obstacles, many people did make good on those vows – at least for a few weeks.  I recall heading up to the Livonia Recreation center in early January and wading through the masses to nab a parking spot, only to have to later endure running around what felt like millions of walkers on the indoor track.

However, as the weeks rolled on, attendance at the Rec center waned.  Friends and colleagues who swore off sugar walked around inhaling Snickers bars. 

In a country where obesity and unhealthy habits form the cornerstone of society, Dec. 31 provides more than just a chance to put on a cool party hat; it’s a night to renew promises, to make lifestyle changes.  Yet, despite every good intention, those promises and changes tend to flounder and drown mere months into the new year.

But fear not, resolution makers: Spring is here.  Temperatures rise daily, the sun shines longer, and opportunities to fulfill those resolutions arise from every corner. 

With such opportunities, it’s possible to get back on the track that perhaps we’ve all fallen off of in recent months. 

Take weight loss, for example.  Losing some extra pounds is a common goal for most people at any point in the year.  However, when the dreary winter blues hit, getting outdoors or to the gym proves tougher than it sounds and weight-loss enthusiasts find themselves curling bags of potato chips instead of weights.

Luckily, spring offers a variety of activities to help melt those pounds away.  Try signing up for a local 5K race (read: 3.1 miles of running, walking or a combination of the two).  The competition aspect of racing adds extra motivation to workout routines and even allows for a lovely post-race feeling of accomplishment.

If competitive atmospheres aren’t for you, several area gyms offer a variety of group aerobics classes to get those muscles toned.  For an added challenge, skip typical classes like step aerobics and try something new like Pilates, kickboxing, or spinning. 

In these times of recession, though, gyms could be costly and sometimes require a specific time commitment.  In this case, the best weapon against falling victim to those potato chip curls is to head to The Great Outdoors.  Despite being settled in a bustling metropolitan area, Livonia and the cities surrounding it offer a plethora of clean, safe, and best of all, free parks.

The Edward N. Hines park system, for instance, runs all the way from Dearborn to Northville, and boasts flat, paved pathways for walking and jogging and a wide, clear shoulder for bicycling.  Mini parks populate the roadside, complete with picnic tables, playground equipment, and drinking fountains.  These day-use areas make getting outdoors for a game of Frisbee or volleyball a little more convenient, not to mention family-friendly. 

So think back to New Year’s Eve and to all of the resolutions that, by now, might be feeling a little lonely.  With some inspiration from the weather and new challenges to take on, those resolutions just might be old news come this Dec. 31.

 

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