It's been one of the top 10 New Year's resolutions among Americans for decades according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Locally, managers of fitness centers and gyms have said they can see that trend as new memberships increase in the first few weeks of the new year.
-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
Larry Clement, of Fort Dodge, looks like he’s feeling the burn recently as he uses one of the weight lifting machines at the Fort Dodge Community Recreation Center.
"I see it as a standard thing for the new year," said Angela Jessen, manager of Curves, a fitness center that specializes in workouts for women. "People feel like it is a clean slate and as a way to start over new. We have definitely seen a lot of appointments for new members on the schedule for January."
"Usually, I hear people say they've been thinking about getting in shape or saying they just wanted to get through the holidays first," said Randy Anderson, a trainer at Snap Fitness. "Typically for a lot of the new members, they say it is a new year's resolution; we see our biggest membership push during the last week of December between Christmas and the New Year,"
Matt Hanson, associate director of the Fort Dodge Community Recreation Center, said membership and attendance increase in January and throughout the winter months.
"Our biggest membership surge is definitely in the first couple weeks of the year," Hanson said. "We hear that it is for a resolution a lot this time of year. Everyone has their own individual goals and needs."
Hanson said the REC will offer a number of classes beginning after the new year to match all ages and fitness levels.
"We'll have something to meet the needs of everyone," he said. "It's fun to help our members with those needs and meet their goals."
Hanson said one option for the new year will be an eight-week challenge at the Coliseum, an extension of the REC.
"It's a new class," Hanson said. "An introduction with eight weeks of everything from cardio, strength and flexibility"
Anderson said Snap Fitness offers a no-excuses option to its members by being open 24 hours a day seven days a week.
"We have the 24/7 access so you can work out on your time," he said. "If you want to come in late at night and workout on you own or with a friend, you can."
Snap Fitness will be offering discounted membership rates as well as free assessments to help determine fitness levels for new members during the first weeks of the year, Anderson said.
"One thing that makes our workouts different is we have a fit score," he said. "It helps us determine your level of fitness, you get your score and we can completely individualize your plan."
Both the REC and Snap Fitness offer personal training sessions for an additional fee.
Classes are also a way to get fit in a group setting.
"There will be several classes starting after the new year," said Hanson. "We always have a few extra classes then to work with the membership influx. And people seem to come more often during the winter months and we work to accommodate that."
Curves will be offering a new style of workout starting in January in addition to its circuit workout and Zumba. Created by Jillian Michaels from the NBC television show "Biggest Loser," the new plan has been designed especially for Curves, Jessen said.
"Each program will still be a 30-minute circuit workout," said Jessen. "I think our new Body Basics and Jillian Michaels programs will be a big draw for new members this year."
Curves also offers an individualized weight loss program, Curves Complete, to help incorporate nutrition with exercise.
"We help fill a special niche," said Jessen. "We're taking it in a whole new direction this year."
"It's a new year, a time for a clean slate, so why not hit the ground running?" said Anderson.