4 Northwest Philly fitness pros tell us how to live healthier in ’13

As New Year’s Day approaches, NewsWorks speaks with experts in the areas of fitness, financial health, habit-breaking and adventure-planning for tips on how to reach for the resolutions you may (or may not) be saying you’ll honor starting Tuesday. This series will run in the remaning days of 2012.

Theresa Conroy, owner of Yoga on the Ridge in Roxborough, knows about wanting to lead a healthier lifestyle and making it happen.

She made the decision years ago when she was trying to not only quit smoking, but also lose weight.

 To help make the transition, Conroy turned to yoga. She heard it could calm her nerves.

“I got my first yoga DVD and knew that if I did it every day, I would never smoke again,” she said.

Since that day, Conroy has quit her stressful job of being a Philadelphia journalist and become a full-time yoga instructor. She is also a certified yoga therapist. She was in Arizona receiving another certification when she spoke with NewsWorks about the ways people can successfully commit to taking better care of themselves in the New Year.

Conroy was one of four fitness professionals in Northwest Philadelphia that NewsWorks caught up with. Below are her top tips.

Rethink the language you use when you set a resolution

Instead of making enormous goals like losing 50 pounds, Conroy said readers should create more reasonable resolution, such as “each day I am going to live in the healthiest way that I can.” That could be as simple as eating a baked potato with Greek yogurt instead of butter and sour cream, she said.

Say things in a positive way

Conroy suggested readers throw out the negative words like “won’t” or “not” and make resolutions that embrace the affirmative, such as “I will” or “I am.”

Don’t set deadlines

“Avoiding deadlines helps your psyche and your physique,” said Conroy. She noted that there are reasons you can’t lose weight in a given amount of time like before a family wedding or because you twisted your ankle and couldn’t work out. Conroy said it took her 17 months to lose 50 pounds, but she kept chugging along even when she was losing less than a pound a week.

NewsWorks also reached out to Heather Sheridan, a certified Pilates instructor at Pilates in Germantown located at 5904 Greene St.

Sheridan made the following suggestions for those looking to live healthier:

• Book work out sessions as an appointment in your calendar so you don’t have the option to bail.

• Make working out as convenient for you as possible. That way, you’re less likely to say ‘oh I am not going to do that today.’ Finding a gym that’s on your way to or from work can be especially useful.

• For women: “Take care of yourself and prioritize yourself. Realize that whatever your journey is that it’s a life time commitment,” said Sheridan.

She added that women need to know that they are as important as their kids and husbands.

Julie Sabella, owner of The Wall Cycling studio located at 100 Levering St. in Manayunk, also made some suggestions. Here is what she had to say:

• When planning your goals, take into account what you can realistically do, not what you want to do.

• Don’t beat yourself up if you cheat or miss your goal one day because every day is another chance to challenge yourself and meet your fitness goals.

• Share your goals with friends and family because one of them may want to join you for a walk, jog or spin class.

• Write down your goals and take the experience day by day.

Mt. Airy Learning Tree Zumba instructor Sonia Maldonado added that, overall, readers should focus on short-term goals versus long-term goals. She also emphasized the importance of eating breakfast, smaller meals with protein, and getting at least seven hours of sleep, which relieves stress and helps with recovery after workouts.

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