Health & Fitness

Here are 5 ways to meet your 2018 health and fitness goals

Every year, more than 40 percent of Americans make New Year’s resolutions, usually focused on improving health and fitness, according to data from Statistic Brain. If you’re aiming to lose weight in 2018, or just looking to adopt some healthy habits, here are things to do in the Sacramento area to help make your resolutions a reality.

1. Start rowing

Rowing is an effective way to build your core and strengthen your back. If you’ve seen those early morning rowers at the Port of Sacramento and always wanted to try it, the River City Rowing Club is offering “New Year’s Rowsolution” classes for beginners.

Rather than waiting until summer, you can start learning the basics of rowing Jan. 1. For $150, coaches will start lessons on indoor rowing machines, teaching you proper rowing form, technique and timing. Practices are 5 to 7 a.m on Mondays and Wednesdays, and 6 to 8 a.m. on Saturdays.

“We all most know fitness-based New Year’s resolutions fail, but when you’re rowing, you’re joining a rowing team,” said Arthur Ericsson, executive director of River City Rowing Club. “Teammates tend to want their team to do well and will offer that support. People are more likely to succeed.”

At the end of the four-week course, participants will have the chance to take boats out and apply what they’ve learned on the water. If rowers would like to continue with the club, their $150 fee for the class will be pro-rated to their membership dues.

2. Take a dance class

Dancing is an easy way to shed pounds, improve balance, build strength and have fun at the same time, according to UC Berkeley Wellness. In fact, in a 2012 study, 97 percent of participants opted for a voucher for tango lessons over one for mindfulness meditation. Dancing is proven to reduce stress and is even prescribed in some treatment regimens for depression and anxiety.

If learning how to dance strikes your fancy, the Ballroom of Sacramento is hosting Dollar Daze Dance Camp, which offers three beginning dance classes for $1 on Jan. 7.

“Dancing is a fun exercise and it’s a good way to lose weight at the beginning of the year after all those cookies,” said Linda Infante, manager at the Ballroom of Sacramento.

In back-to-back classes starting at 1 p.m., participants will learn the merengue, waltz and East Coast Swing. They include 45 minutes of instruction and 15 minutes of practice. And you don’t need to bring a partner.

After that, the Ballroom has weekly classes in dances ranging from country to salsa. Classes start at $8 per person.

3. Do yoga in the park

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, yoga can improve strength and flexibility, and even reduce stress and joint pain. For those looking to incorporate yoga into their fitness routine, Yoga Moves Us, a local nonprofit, hosts free weekly yoga classes in Sacramento-area parks.

Yoga Moves Us will offer one-hour yoga classes at McClatchy Library in Midtown Sacramento starting Jan. 4 at 6 p.m.

“We do all levels,” said Zach Stahlecker, president and co-founder of Yoga Moves Us. “There will be queues and postures for someone who is brand new and someone who is advanced.”

Classes are also offered every Saturday at 9 a.m at the Clunie Community Center in McKinley Park. When the warmer months roll around, classes move outside.

Yoga mats are available and participants are encouraged to bring a towel and a bottle of water, Stahlecker said.

4. Eat more exotic fruit

Trying to cut out that extra sugar in your diet, but still craving something sweet?

Rachel Perez, a pediatric outpatient dietitian at UC Davis Children’s Hospital, said eating exotic fruits, often available at local ethnic grocery stores, is a great way to satisfy a sweet tooth while being mindful of your waistline.

Perez said she recommends starfruit, lychee, pomelo, or rambutan.

“The recommended amount of 2 cups of fruits and veggies is hard to do with things like bananas and oranges. Eating different types of fruits with different colors helps you get all those vitamins and nutrients,” she said.

5. Join a gym

If you’ve been putting off signing up for a gym membership because of the cost, Sacramento-area gyms have some promotions lined up to get you in the door and burning those calories. Anytime Fitness, Capital Athletic Club, 24 Hour Fitness, California Family Fitness and Sacramento Eco Fitness are among clubs offering promotions.

Molly Sullivan: 916-321-1176, @SullivanMollyM