The dawn of a new year marks new opportunities, and for many, that means a chance to chase new health goals.
Gage County residents looking to get in shape in 2019 have many options when it comes to fitness, but it can be difficult to know where and how to start. Fitness trainers Bryan Seibel of Anytime Fitness and Rachel Bauman of the Beatrice Mary Family YMCA said that setting goals is the key to success when it comes to exercise.
Seibel said members of Anytime Fitness work with staff to create a jump start training plan, which lays out a path to success. The plan contains guides for both workouts and nutrition.
He added it's important to recognize that each individual is starting at a different place, and that plans must be personalized to ensure the most success possible.
While many fitness resolutions will inevitably center around weight loss goals, Seibel said strength training can be overlooked in favor of creating workouts that focus on cardiovascular exercise.
Workouts that cause an elevated heart rate are important, he said, but building muscle is also important for long term weight loss and overall health.
“Muscle is the engine that burns calories for the body,” Seibel said
Bauman stressed the importance of making manageable goals with small steps. She also said it is important to celebrate small successes along the way.
Any goals created, Bauman said, should be specific and quantifiable with a clear timeline.
The YMCA is currently doing a weight loss challenge known as “Wintervention” which is helping members set manageable goals. They are also planning a 2019 community board on which people can write their name and fitness goal to increase encouragement and accountability.
This February, the YMCA is launching Grit, a group class that will include new forms of cardio, strength, and interval training. With more than 60 group classes, the YMCA offers a variety of options for locals to work out. Bauman said the group classes increase accountability by helping people find workout partners.
She added that when setting goals, people should speak with their physician to ensure they are safe and that exercise should not be focused solely on weight loss.
“Health and wellness is all about overall progress” she said.
Seibel also said that for weight loss, nutrition is the most important element. People can work hard to burn calories and still not see results because they don’t change their eating habits.
“You can’t outrun a fork,” Seibel said.
It is also important that exercise is a regular part of a person’s routine. Seibel said that to see results, people need to work out at least three days a week.
Many claim they don’t have the time to commit to working out, but Seibel said it is a matter of making health a priority in one’s life. He stressed the importance of overall wellness, as much of what people do depends on physical health, and often health is taken for granted.
“We all make time for the things we consider priorities,” Seibel said.
Seibel said people have more success when they set aside a specific time in their schedule, often directly before or after they work.
He added that when people are thinking of throwing in the towel, they should consider what motivated them to start working out in the first place. Whether it be better health, a sense of achievement, or just to be in better shape, Seibel said reflecting on their reasons for starting a workout regimen may help them continue on with it.
“Every person is capable of far more than they think.” Seibel said.
The need to grow Nebraska is a common theme these days, with Gov. Pete Ricketts mentioning it publicly every opportunity he gets.
Most recently, on Monday, he said it in his New Year statement: "Moving into 2019, we will continue to work to grow our state and create more great opportunities, so we can keep Nebraska the best place in the world to live, work, and raise a family."
According to a recently released report by the Nebraska Legislature's Planning Committee, perhaps the emphasis should be on "raise a family."
Sen. Paul Schumacher of Columbus, who wrote the report, said Nebraska's population is aging, and the probability that the shortfall in Nebraska births will be covered by youthful in-migration offsetting out-migration and natural deaths is low.
A report in November to the Legislative Council on population trends showed the percentage of children under 5 is expected to remain flat in the state because people are not having as many children. Josie Schafer, director of the Center for Public Affairs Research at the University of Nebraska at Omaha said a state needs population growth to have economic growth.
The latest Nebraska birth information available is from 2016 and shows the number of live births declined for the second year in a row that year -- decreasing in 2015 to 26,678, and then again in 2016 to 26,594.
That follows a national trend. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services shows U.S. births declined again in 2017, down 2 percent and the lowest number in 30 years.
Of course, you must square that with the census report this month that said the Cornhusker State added 11,693 people from July 1, 2017, to July 1, 2018, and now sits at 1,929,268 people. But that may be attributed to international migration into the state.
Schafer said Monday she wouldn't necessarily say people need to have more babies.
"We need a combination of in-migration and children to be able to replace that baby boomer generation," she said. "That population is now aging. They're hitting 65. They're hitting 75. And then we're going to lose them."
And the state needs a population base that replaces that large group, Schafer said. And it's got to be a combination of a couple of different things.
There's wide speculation about what causes people to have fewer kids, she said, including recession, war, and detachment from religious affiliation.
A recent report shows there's also a decline in the number of children the Latino population is having. The decline was dramatic between 2007 and 2016, which continued but slowed after 2012.
People are just having fewer kids, Schafer said.
And that trend, Schumacher said, and its natural consequences will have a "profound impact on the state."
Officials are continuing the push to rename Homestead National Monument of America, and are seeking support from Gage County.
During the County Board of Supervisors’ Monday committee meetings, members of the Friends of Homestead volunteer group discussed the proposed name change and asked the board to formally support the initiative.
Diane Vicars, president of the Friends of Homestead, said that renaming the National Park Service site west of Beatrice Homestead National Historical Park could further enhance the county’s largest tourism attraction.
“We believe that based on some of the other case studies we’ve seen around the country, that by changing the name and including ‘historical park’ as opposed to ‘national monument’ we would attract more visitors, economic development and tourism dollars to the community," she said.
One way a name change would accomplish this, she said, is by more accurately describing what Homestead has to offer and planting the idea that there’s more to do at the park than just see a physical monument or statue, which is what many people expect to find.
“Our experience has been and our surveys have shown that when people look up Homestead National Monument they’re looking for a monument, a rock, a statue,” she said. “They think they’re going to buzz in, take a look and buzz on down the road. By changing the name to ‘historical park’ it opens that idea that there maybe is more to see and do.”
U.S. Rep. Adrian Smith introduced a bill in October that would reclassify Homestead National Monument.
County Board chairman Myron Dorn asked what other impact the name change would have on the park’s outreach and programing. Vicars responded that the change would only impact the name, and is more of a marketing and public relations push than attempt to change the current offerings at Homestead.
The County Board is expected to consider formally supporting the proposal at its regular meeting Wednesday morning, and Dorn said anything that could further enhance the site is worth pursuing.
“I see it as a real positive thing for them,” he said. “It’s a tremendous asset to this community and it always has been. I think it really showed up during the eclipse, what that means or does for this community. Anything to help promote tourism and that kind of stuff is great.”
In October the Beatrice City Council approved a similar resolution supporting the name change.