2018 is here, and with any beginning of a calendar year comes a desire for a fresh start, and to break old habits. Whether it’s because of a New Year’s Resolution, or advice from the doctor, a common objective is to get back into physical shape.?

The key to restarting one’s fitness is to first overcome psychological barriers.?

“The mental challenge is really the initial challenge,” says Andrew Getzin, MD and sports medicine physician at Cayuga Medical Center. In order to do so, it is important to recognize that exercise relies on a long-term commitment. “Successful exercising is about getting started and maintaining consistency,” says Getzin.?

For those who are determined, but unsure of what type of exercise to start with, Getzin recommends walking—or jogging for those with a higher baseline fitness—and bodyweight strength training, which includes squats, push-ups, or lunches, and for as little as 10 minutes. It is essential, though, to lower initial expectations, set reasonable goals for progression, and begin at a lower level of intensity.?

While high-intensity exercise can lead to significant gains in a short period of time, it comes with risks, says Getzin. “If somebody has any potential cardiovascular problems, they should see their doctor prior to starting a high intensity training program. In addition, the high training load could predispose to injury,” he warns. Even for experienced athletes that are looking to resume their training, it is important to not aim for large strength gains right away, and instead allow for one’s body to adjust to the training load for a month.?

Regarding a training plan, Getzin instructs to increase intensity by no more than 10 percent after each week of recurrent exercise, and to avoid doing too much too soon. “While there is no magic in 10 percent,” he says, “it gives people an idea that the change should be gradual, and to consider not just each workout session, but week-long blocks that more accurately reflect cumulative training loads.” In addition, Getzin, stresses the importance of listening to one’s body. “Everybody responds differently to training. Some people can increase faster while others might get injured if they increased at 10 percent a week,” he says. “If you have aches and pains that are unexpected, take a day or two off and see how your body responds.”

Some might worry that a lack of physical activity during the holiday season has set them back, but Getzin dismisses those concerns. “While I encourage people to try to move their bodies over the holidays, exercise is really about the long course,” he explains. “Missing some exercise due to travel and spending extra time with family is well worth it. You won’t lose all of your fitness in a week or two.”

Although a New Year’s Resolution can be made with a focus on short-term results, the consistent exercise has long-term benefits on one’s well-being. “Exercise is medicine. There is strong evidence that exercise helps lower cardiovascular disease, risk of many cancers, boosts mental health, and improves energy,” says Getzin. “Seize the opportunity of the new year being upon us to move your body and make your 2018 a great year.”

Exercises You Can Do On Your Couch:

Sit to stand

Go from sitting to standing to sitting again, 10 times in a row. Rest for a minute, then repeat.

Calf stretch

Sit on the edge of a couch with your feet flat on the floor. With one leg, keeping your heel on the floor, lift and point the toes toward the ceiling, so that you feel a stretch in your calf muscle. Hold for 30 seconds, then do the same with the other leg, three times per leg.

Stand on one leg

Holding on to the back of a chair for stability, lift one heel toward your buttocks. Hold for 30 to 45 seconds, three times per leg. To improve your balance on unsteady surfaces, try this with shoes off on a balled-up beach towel.

Shoulder blade squeeze

Pinch your shoulder blades together, but not up (don’t shrug). Hold for 10 seconds, then repeat 10 times.

Source: Harvard Medical School

Exercises You Can Do Without Weights:


A great way to strengthen your obliques,? lie down on your side and engage your obliques by raising your legs while lunging your free elbow toward them simultaneously. Goes great with pushups.

Dirty Dogs

Rotate one of your legs out while on your knees. For a much more intense, engaging version requires you to get into a completed pushup position and rotate one of your legs away from your body and then across it, repeating until fatigue sets in on your core..

Lunge Jumps

Start on a single bended knee. Explode up, landing gently onto the opposite knee

Iron Crosses

Extend the arms and legs, then crunch one elbow to the opposite knee while each other limb remains elevated. Perform 2-3 sets of 12-15 reps per side..

Source: Men’s Fitness

How To Get Back Into 5k Shape Again:

Want to run a 5k this year?

The Mayo Clinic estimates that the average beginner can go from couch potato to a race finisher in seven weeks. Here’s a typical week:


Alternate run/walk 30 minutes.


Walk 30 minutes.


Alternate run/walk 30 minutes.


Walk 30 mins.


Active rest. (Walk 30 mins/do nothing)


Run three miles. Increase 0.5 miles every week. Run two miles as fast as possible every other week. You should top out at 4.5 miles before race day Week 7.

Freelance Reporter

Austin Lamb is a freelance reporter, copy editor, and social media manager. Austin is a 2018 LACS graduate and will attend Syracuse University's Newhouse School of Public Communications in 2019.

(1) comment

Ithaca Jack

Lots of good advice. Thanks for the motivation!

Of course, my favorite part is where you promote "bodyweight strength training, which includes squats, push-ups, or lunches." My mind says it was a simple typo, but my stomach says to do the lunches instead of the squats or push-ups.

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