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Photo: Getty Images/iStockphoto, License: N/A, Created: 2017:10:09 14:19:04

“It’s never too late to start your journey to a healthy lifestyle.”

The holidays are over and the last bits of the turkey have been nibbled. Experts say now’s the time to start a workout routine. And you won’t be doing it alone.

“People who haven’t been exercising need to know they have help and support and to not be intimidated when walking into a fitness class or the weight room,” said Lisa Burke, marketing and membership coordinator at the Greater Carbondale YMCA. “Just going to a facility is a great first step. Bring a workout buddy because it’s a lot more fun to work out and laugh with a friend. Find a fun activity/class, as it makes the time go quicker.”

That sentiment was echoed by Talia Walsh, owner of Quest Studio in Jessup. “The first things I always say to folks who haven’t been exercising in a while is: “the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step,” she said. “It really doesn’t matter to me how long it’s been, or what shape or health status they are in. Some type of exercise is always possible and you have to start somewhere.”

“It’s always best to get clearance from your doctor first, and start slow, with something you enjoy, even if it’s walking,” Walsh said. “Working out with a certified coach who can guide you, and within a community of others who can also support you, I’ve found has been most successful for my clients. I always suggest to aim for a mix of cardio, strength training and balance and flexibility, but the balance of workouts will always depend on your goals. “

“You may be nervous and that’s okay,” said Betsy Czaja, a certified personal trainer and group fitness instructor with more than 23 years experience, who leads the Bootcamp Fitness classes at the Dickson City Civic Center. “One of the best ways to get started and stay motivated is to start with a group fitness class.”

Czaia said her class is for all fitness levels, you go at your own pace, everything can be modified or intensified according to your fitness level.

“At the Greater Carbondale YMCA, we like to say anyone can take any of our classes, just take them at your own pace,” Burke said. “We do offer easier fitness classes for anyone just starting out, from Enhanced Fitness, a class for those with arthritis which offers basic mobility, flexibility and strengthening exercises. We also offer a Silver Sneakers class where participants exercise sitting in or standing next to a chair while using stretch bands, hand-held weights and exercise balls to increase their flexibility and strength. One can attend the Walkercise class where they add cardio walking to the exercises similar to the Silver Sneakers class. and let us not forget the best fitness class for easing into exercise, Water Fitness, where the water acts as your equipment while being easy on your joints and muscles.

“At Quest Studio, our classes are open to all levels, but we also offer programs and classes for those looking for a bit more instruction,” explained Walsh. “Our Kickstart program includes a goal-setting session that incorporates not just exercise goals, but also a balanced nutrition plan, and supplementation and coaching guide to address all pillars of health.”

“Start slow and build as you go,” Czaia said. “My passion has always been guiding people to with their health and fitness goals and make it a healthy lifestyle. All you need to bring to class is a water bottle, a towel, proper sneakers and your smile.”

“Have the faith that you can build up your willpower the more you make exercise a habit and part of your lifestyle, not just a 30-day New Year’s resolution,” Burke added. “It’s never too late to start your journey to a healthy lifestyle.”

“There is no cookie cutter program,” Walsh said. “Set rewards for yourself for mini goals reached, like a new workout outfit, a new pair of shoes or a day trip adventure. Never forget why you started.”

Remember you got to start somewhere,” Czaia urged. “Everyone is a first-timer at some point.”

For more information about area fitness classes, see page 13.