The new year is upon us, and area fitness centers are encouraging people to make 2018 the year they get fit.

Rachael Bauman, Director of Health and Wellness at the Beatrice YMCA, said there’s always an increase in new members around January as gym goers set out to improve themselves.

And staff members at the YMCA are there to help them achieve their goals.

“We do see a big growth, especially at the beginning of year as people set their resolutions,” Bauman said. “I’m always excited to see new faces come in and people meet those goals a lot of the time one of the biggest tips is when you make a big lifestyle change at once, you feel like there’s pressure or stress. I encourage people to break things down to small goals they can meet along the way.”

This strategy of focusing on small milestones that can be reached on a regular basis helps people stay focused and committed, increasing the odds of seeing major change over the course of the year.

“Those little changes add up to make a big difference,” she said. “That’s a huge one. We love to feel like an environment that people can come into to make a healthy approach.”

Brent Ruiz runs several programs out of the YMCA.

He added that setting an obtainable goal is one of the first positive steps to take entering the new year.

“The news year resolution is an annual right of passage, it seems like,” Ruiz said. “There’s quite a few new members that show up with some ideas in mind. One of my jobs is to help people achiever their goal and make sure their goal is realistic and obtainable.”

One reason some people are leary of joining a gym or fitness center is in intimidation.

Ruiz said there’s no need to feel intimidated, and some first timers are surprised to learn most people keep to themselves.

“The thing I think most people don’t realize is people have their heads down and are in their own little world,” he said. “Seldom do we see anybody judging, criticizing or even paying attention to what other people are doing.”

In addition to free weight and cardio areas, the YMCA offers a variety of classes. Bauman, who leads some of the class exercises, said the community atmosphere they provide can actually help people achieve their fitness and wellness goals.

“If you stay connected you feel like part of community, and that’s a big motivator,” she said. “There are times you may not want to come in, but if people are meeting you it’s easier to meet those goals.”

Bauman said tours and guest passes are available for those interested in exploring what the YMCA has to offer.

Once recent addition is an aquatic stand up class in the pool, where participants practice their balance on a board. She’s also hoping to implement a hip hop dance class at the YMCA in the future.

Reach Scott Koperski at scott.koperski@beatricedailysun.com. Follow him on Twitter @ScottKoperski.

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