OGDEN -- If this New Year finds you promising yourself, yet again, that you'll adopt a strenuous gym routine that will leave you as buff as a fitness model, you may need a resolution revamp to get it done.
Joan Thompson, an associate professor of Health Promotion and Human Performance at Weber State University, said following certain steps can help anyone enjoy a happier, fitter 2012.
"Knowledge is power," Thompson said.
"Before you can change, you need to know how to change. Traditional medicine is reactive. Be responsible for your own health. Once it's gone, it's hard to get back.
"Lots of America's health problems are brought on by poor lifestyle choices."
For motivation, Thompson suggests checking out any of the mountains of studies that link sedentary lifestyles and poor diet choices to disease and early death.
"There is such clear data out there," she said. "The more physically fit you are, the less morbidity and mortality."
Thompson, who teaches nutrition and founded WSU's nutrition program, believes people keep making poor food and fitness choices because they don't see immediate consequences.
"They think, 'I chewed, I swallowed, and I stayed alive,' " she said. " 'I didn't exercise today and I lived.' Well, year after year of doing the wrong things for your body are cumulative."
Setting healthy goals is part of the process, but Thompson suggests adjusting intentions.
"The goal is to advance physical fitness, not achieve it tomorrow," she said.
"If you work hard and don't lose weight like you expected to, you can get discouraged. If your goal is advancing your fitness, and you are, there's no reason to get discouraged."
For cardiovascular health, Thompson suggests starting small and increasing the frequency and intensity of aerobic workouts as your strength grows.
To be effective, work at 70 percent of your capacity.
"You have to have overload to stimulate changes in your body," she said.
For muscle and skeletal health, lifting weights is the way to make change.
"Work all your major muscle groups," Thompson said. "Weight work helps your metabolism, your strength, your bone density and your power."
Thompson said studies have found that burning 2,000 to 3,000 calories a week in physical activities can reduce your risk of cancer, bone problems from obesity and many chronic diseases.
Adopting a healthful diet that stresses unprocessed foods will make positive changes happen faster, she said.
"The combination is not additive, it's exponential."
And some of your success will be in your head, Thompson said. "Define your goal. If you're really going to succeed, you have to see that goal and believe in that goal."
Kraig Chugg, 42, of Pleasant View, echoes many of Thompson's principles.
"It's a lifestyle, not a resolution. And you have to make the time to do it."
Denton Coleman, 22, of North Ogden, agrees.
"I just want to keep improving," he said while taking a brief break from weightlifting.
"I just want to be the best I can be, and this is one of the things I do to get there."