By Martha Barksdale

“This will be the year I get in shape.”

That’s probably the most common new year’s resolution, and perhaps the one that’s most quickly cast aside as the resolve of the new year melts away into the daily routine of life.

But 2010 can be the year you begin a fitness regimen. Just choose something you enjoy, make a commitment and keep it up, say several of your fellow Intown residents, who once weren’t so buff themselves.

Dean Rau

A willingness to try new things is what got Dean Rau into yoga 15 years ago, and the benefits he gets from its practice has kept the fit retiree involved even now at age 74.

“I used to do a lot of 10K running and one of my running friends told me he attended his wife’s yoga class and enjoyed it,” Rau said. “At the time my wife was taking yoga classes from Kathleen Pringle and to her surprise, I said I would like to also attend.”

Things didn’t go so well at first. “In the beginning I felt and looked like a real klutz, said Rau, but gradually the stiffness went away and he began noticing the benefits in terms of feeling better and having more energy. Still, he wasn’t convinced. “After about six months I told Kathleen as soon as I can do a handstand, I will probably stop attending her classes. Shortly after, I learned how to do a handstand. It felt so exhilarating that I have become a yoga convert and have been attending classes ever since.”

Heather Wright

Heather Wright turned to exercise five years ago as a way to cope with ongoing health issues and a stressful job as an attorney with her own civil litigation and corporate law practice, The Wright Firm. She began twice-weekly kickboxing classes at Atlanta Kick, a local kickboxing and karate school.

“Initially, the classes were very difficult, but the stress relief was addictive. After a long day of dealing with disputes and stressful legal situations, hitting a heavy bag was a great release, and I quickly started noticing a few new muscles,” Wright said.

In April of 2005, she started taking karate at Atlanta Kick. “I attend class three to four times weekly and truly enjoy the benefit to my physical and mental well-being.”

Her advice to anyone with a fitness resolution for 2010: “Pick something interesting and get started. The battle for me after losing fitness for medical reasons was truly just getting started, but the great thing about our bodies is that they adapt pretty quickly, especially to things that make us feel better. Find something that excites you, push through the first few weeks, even if they are difficult, and you will see results that will further motivate you. Who knows, maybe you will end up a black belt.”

Melissa Jones

Physical fitness has always been part of Melissa Jones’s life. She previously taught step aerobics and studied African dance, but a longing for something new led her to try hot yoga. She said she attended classes at a few studios before deciding to join Decatur Yoga and Pilates.

“To keep fit, I usually take four to five yoga classes each week and include physical activity in my daily routine by taking the stairs and walking during breaks at work and practicing t’ai chi,” she says.

Jones says you don’t have to have a programmed strategy to stay in shape – simply move more and do what you love, whether its dancing, gardening, walking, martial arts or skating. “The goal is to have fun!”

Kim Dalimonte

“If it involves a score and teammates, and preferably something for me to chase down, I’m in,” said Kim Dalimonte about the combination of competition and fellowship that got her hooked on volleyball.

“Apart from the rush of anticipating a play, digging an offensive attack and hitting the ball out of the defender’s reach, volleyball is a great workout that includes camaraderie and social interaction,” she said.

Dalimonte has played volleyball at John Howell Park for the last 10 years, adding “I also get to catch up with friends, enjoy the fresh air and even walk away with a suntan!”

She echoed the advice of others when she says your fitness plan must be active, but it won’t succeed unless you find something you really enjoy. “Even though it can easily be all about friendly competition and running down that ball that nobody thinks you can get, remember to incorporate strengthening and conditioning drills, too,” she advised.

Jason Crosby

Jason Crosby, 38, has been a recreational cyclist most of his life,  competing in regional road cycling and mountain bike events for the past 12 years. He is a member of the Quantum Mechanics/Atlanta Pro Bicycles Racing Team.

A busy guy who juggles two jobs along with his family life, Crosby lives in East Atlanta Village with his wife, Amy, and 15-month-old son, Max.  He said cycling has been the number one factor in keeping him fit and feeling good in his adult life. “I enjoy the speed of the road and Atlanta offers some great road cycling routes which are all accessible right from my front door,” Crosby noted. He also points out the social aspect of riding with a group and racing with his teammates.

He tells anyone who wants to start a fitness program to be consistent, but don’t overdo it. “You don’t have to work out every day,” he said. “In fact, your body needs time to recover between workouts.” Crosby also said mixing up your activities keeps things exciting. “Cycling has been great for that as there are several disciplines to choose from including mountain biking/trail riding, cyclocross, road racing and triathlon,” he said. In the off season, he throws in some running and weights. “The key is to have fun in order to maintain a long-term active lifestyle.”

Collin KelleyEditor

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.

4 replies on “Five For Fitness”

  1. What nonsense! It’s socially and environmentally irresponsible to stay “fit” at the expense of wildlife and other trail users.

    Bicycles should not be allowed in any natural area. They are inanimate objects and have no rights. There is also no right to mountain bike. That was settled in federal court in 1994: . It’s dishonest of mountain bikers to say that they don’t have access to trails closed to bikes.
    They have EXACTLY the same access as everyone else — ON FOOT! Why isn’t that good enough for mountain bikers? They are all capable of walking….

    A favorite myth of mountain bikers is that mountain biking is no more harmful to wildlife, people, and the environment than hiking, and that science supports that view. Of course, it’s not true. To settle the matter once and for all, I read all of the research they cited, and wrote a review of the research on mountain biking impacts (see ). I found that of the seven studies they cited, (1) all were written by mountain bikers, and (2) in every case, the authors misinterpreted their own data, in order to come to the conclusion that they favored. They also studiously avoided mentioning another scientific study (Wisdom et al) which did not favor mountain biking, and came to the opposite conclusions.

    Those were all experimental studies. Two other studies (by White et al and by Jeff Marion) used a survey design, which is inherently incapable of answering that question (comparing hiking with mountain biking). I only mention them because mountain bikers often cite them, but scientifically, they are worthless.

    Mountain biking accelerates erosion, creates V-shaped ruts, kills small animals and plants on and next to the trail, drives wildlife and other trail users out of the area, and (worst of all) teaches kids that the rough treatment of nature is okay (it’s NOT!). What’s good about THAT?

    For more information: .

  2. Hi
    Five different people and five different ways of keeping fit. I think the message here should be clear to anyone looking to get fit or lose weight. Do something you enjoy.
    I am with Jason on this, as I have recently returned to my bike after many years.
    My fitness levels as a result have really surprised me.

    His advice about recovery is good too. You can easily get carried away when you first start a new regime and this can lead to overtraining and injury.

    Keep Moving
    Dave W

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