Still in the first month of the new year, there already are plenty of people heading to fitness centers looking to get into shape.
Lisa McCoy, vice president of member services and marketing for the Fulton County YMCA, said the Johnstown location has been "extremely busy" lately.
"I can tell you we have seen an increase in memberships and more usage," she said Tuesday.
Fitness attendant John Vdoviak, left, works with Nancy Darrow of Gloversville at the Fulton County YMCA in Johnstown on
The Leader-Herald/Bill Trojan
Whatever the reason someone has started exercising this year, McCoy said there are some basic things everyone who has started working out - or is thinking about doing so - should do.
People always should speak with their doctor before starting any sort of exercise routine, McCoy said, irregardless of age. It is important people be sure there is no underlying condition that could negatively affect their health, she said.
Anyone starting to exercise should start slowly, she said.
"Too many people jump into it like they are training for a marathon," McCoy said.
The YMCA is currently offering intro classes for cycling and Zumba, she said, which may be better for people new to exercising. It also offers gentle yoga, which is good for those just getting started with yoga, she said.
For older adults who want to start exercising, McCoy said, they have classes such as Strength and More and Balance and Stability for Fall Prevention.
There also is aqua-robics - aerobics done in the water - which can reduce some of the strain on the body compared to regular aerobics, she said.
Many classes at the YMCA are scheduled and designed with the idea that first timers may want to try out a particular exercise, she said. From there, the classes may progress along with the student.
Earl Wager, the owner of Fit Happens in the town of Johnstown, also said people new to exercising, or who haven't done it in a while, should start off slow.
For example, Wager said, someone could start working with the cardiovascular equipment. Then, after assessing how they feel, they could progress to a faster speed or spend more time overall exercising.
From there, he said, they could get familiar with some different equipment at the fitness center.
According to its website - go2fithappens.com - the fitness center has four workout areas. The cardio theater has treadmills, elliptical machines, bikes and other cardiovascular equipment. The general gym has a variety of equipment, such as free weights, that can be used for many different workouts. There is a 15-piece circuit area with "pin setting machines" that can be used for a total body workout, the website said. There also is a women's only room, the website said, which is a complete gym.
Wager said whatever equipment or exercises someone is doing, the key is taking it slow and assessing how they feel.
Peggy Simone, a Curves technician with the Curves in Johnstown, said the business advises women not too do too much. There is nothing wrong with starting slow, she said.
"Don't try to work out five days a week if you are not ready for it," Simone said.
According to the Curves website - www.curves.com - each franchise location uses a circuit made up of resistance machines. In between the machines are pads where women can run or walk in place before moving on to the next station. A trip around the circuit can take 30 minutes.
Simone said she has seen more new people come into the location since Jan. 1. She said if women follow the program, they will find that it works.
Simone said the Curves in Johnstown has had many constant and new customers, at least since she started working there in 2004.
"If women leave, they come back and say 'I had no idea how much this was doing for me.'" Simone said.
A key for many women is finding a routine that fits their life, she said.
Fit Happens has entered one of its busiest time of year, Wager said.
In order for people to stay committed to exercising, he said, it helps if they find something that gets them excited.
He noted Fit Happens offers a variety of classes, so customers can find something that appeals to them.
"You can tell yourself how important [exercise] is ... but if you don't find something to get yourself excited, you'll have more trouble sticking with it," he said.
McCoy said ultimately, people need to find their niche.
"People have to find a routine with what they like to do, that fits their schedule," she said.
For more information about the activities at the YMCA, visit its website at www.fultoncountyymca.org