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    Easy New Year Fitness

    By Cinder Ernst–

    Most folks drive themselves a little bit crazy this time of year with resolutions. You know what I mean … making big promises about weight loss, exercising, closet cleaning or money that are almost impossible to keep. When I was studying for my Medical Exercise Specialist Certification, the instructor pointed out an interesting phenomenon: many exercise resolutions end with injuries, and he sees the resolution makers in his medical office by Martin Luther King, Jr., Day. That’s just a couple weeks of trying too hard to do something that you’re not ready for.

    At Easy Fitness, we have a good-feeling approach to New Year’s fitness resolutions. Easy Fitness Step One is to make peace with where you are. When you see clearly where you are, then you can find the next logical step. You cannot find the next logical step, however, if you are filled with anxiety or self-loathing. That’s why making peace with where you are is important.

    Make peace without sugar-coating or being mean to yourself. Tell the truth and then ease yourself into peace, and then look for your next step. For instance, “I’m not exercising right now and I never really want to,” might become peaceful with these words: “Fitness has eluded me so far, but I’m going to relax about it intentionally and see what happens next.” Relaxing about where you are is the key to finding peace. Then, you can be successful with your next step. When you are relaxed about fitness, you might wonder: What if I simply need a different approach? What if this could be easier than I thought?

    At Easy Fitness, we define fitness as having the strength and stamina to live your life; it has nothing to do with what you eat or how you look. If you adopt the Easy Fitness definition of fitness, you may find that you can relax about the whole concept. You see, building strength and stamina is a simple process involving small efficient strength exercises that can be done in a few minutes each day. Finding fitness does not have to be a big hairy deal!

    You start where you are. And, where you are is your perfect starting place! If you are pretty much sedentary, that’s ok as a starting place, because it may be your truth. Find a small bit of exercise you have time for and would be willing to try. Easy Fitness says that exercise can feel friendly and doable. Over time, you can do harder exercises and they will feel friendly, too. Here are some good starting exercises if you haven’t been active in a while and/or you have some injuries:

    • Walk a short, friendly-feeling distance on purpose with a smile. This could be a lap around your car before you get in, three laps around the house, 100 steps out, then 100 steps back, 10 or 20 marches while your coffee is brewing or whatever works for you.
    • Get Ups: If getting out of a chair feels easy, do it 5 or 10 times and then give yourself a pat on the back. This is another great and simple coffee-time exercise.
    • Stretches: Look up some stretches on YouTube, or do some shoulder rolls and wrist circles, or flop over onto your kitchen counter and feel your back and legs stretch … ahhh.
    • Pick up my book, Easy Fitness for the Reluctant Exerciser, and relax, knowing that you’ve got this.

    If you are athletic, or have a fitness practice that you’d like to get back to, start reasonably. Maybe go to the gym once or twice at the most this week. Look at your calendar and pick the best day. My clients often find that going once during the week and once on the weekend is a good way to get some momentum going.

    Relax about fitness. Find a friendly-feeling way to proceed from wherever you are. Listen to your body, tell your brain to quiet down and try not to listen to the New Year fitness hype. Be gentle, appropriate, kind and have fun!

    Cinder Ernst, Medical Exercise Specialist and Life Coach Extraordinaire, helps reluctant exercisers get moving with safe, effective and fun programs. Her book, “Easy Fitness for the Reluctant Exerciser” (, is available in paperback and E-book. She specializes in fitness and rehab for plus-size clients, but her stress-free approach is suitable for all. Find out more at