Each year, many Americans will make a resolution to get in shape. And each year, almost 80% of those people will not meet the goals they set. If getting in shape is on your to-do list this year, we want to help. Consider these tips, as well as advice from Dr. Ryan D. Waddles, Lexington Clinic primary care physician.

Learn to make exercise (or movement) a daily habit
"Learning to incorporate some type of movement, whether it be 2 hours at the gym or a 15 minute walk in the parking lot, helps the body stay in the best shape possible,” said Dr. Waddles. Not only does the movement pump blood all through the body (which means your heart is getting a workout as well) but it also keeps you in a good mood and increases the chances of losing or maintaining weight.

Don’t just consider weight loss
While a big part of getting in shape is losing weight, focusing on weight alone can be misleading. If you are exercising and building muscle mass as you lose body fat, this may not be reflected on the scale. "Muscle weighs more than fat, and as the body replaces the fat with muscle weight gain may be observed, even though the body is becoming leaner and more fit,” said Dr. Waddles. For this reason, it is important to not only keep track of your body weight, but also your body measurements and body fat percentage.

New year ResolutionSet realistic checkpoints for yourself throughout the year
In order to reach your final goal in December, set checkpoints for yourself throughout the year that help track your progress and keep your eyes set on the end prize. Make sure these are realistic checkpoints that your body is capable of reaching, while staying healthy. "When setting weight loss and fitness goals, it is important to keep in mind a body’s limits,” said Dr. Waddles.  "If goals are not realistic, it is setting a person up for failure, which can lead to disappointment and deter the person from reaching their end goal.”

Find a plan that works for you
Each body is different. What works to help one person get in shape may do nothing for the next person. "When it comes to weight loss, there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution,” said Dr. Waddles. "To find a method that works with your body, lifestyle and personal healthcare will take time and commitment. A primary care provider who knows you and your body is a good place to start when choosing a diet and exercise plan.”

No matter what you choose as your health goal for 2017, or the method you choose to reach that goal, it is important to discuss these goals with a primary care provider. If you would like to schedule an appointment with your primary care provider, or would like to establish care with a Lexington Clinic primary care provider, please call 859.258.4DOC (4362) or visit LexingtonClinic.com.