PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas

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January 4, 2013

Be it resolved ... at least for a while

— Now that 2013 is under way, resolutions for the new year are in full effect for people looking to have an improved, healthier lifestyle — for a little while, at least.

One of the most popular resolutions people make is to get in better shape. They want to eat healthier foods, live a more active lifestyle, and maybe even shed a few pounds in the process.

This is why the first few months of a new year is one of the busiest times in the health and fitness industry, as energetic spirits start translating into new gym memberships.

 “Typically memberships increase greatly in January and February due to New Year’s resolutions,” said Pete Hicks, president of the YMCA in Port Arthur. “They show up a couple times and then stop.”

Hicks said activity at the YMCA peaks in the spring and summer, then begins to fall as the cold months and holiday seasons approach.

“Most people don’t follow through,” he said.

Gyms and fitness centers took a big hit during the recession in recent years, but membership at the YMCA has “consistently grown the past five years,” Hicks said.

The biggest challenge for these businesses is keeping the new members active for longer than just a few weeks, according to Jennifer Cannon, front desk manager at Powerhouse Gym in Port Neches.

“People don’t realize it’s not easy,” she said. “We encourage people to stay. That’s what we’re about- improving people’s entire health, physical, mental, and spiritual.”

Powerhouse, a national company, as recently started a new program designed to attract new members, and the turnout has been extremely successful, Cannon said.

“It’s one thing to have a membership, but it’s another to know what to do with it,” she said. “This program is to reach out to people who might be intimidated or hesitant.”

The new year still brings strong economic growth to fitness centers, however, even if people chose to not utilize their memberships.

“It’s beneficial,” Cannon said. “Just like Christmas is beneficial to for retailers.”

Janis Whitten, co-owner of the Curves locations in Nederland and Port Arthur, said her increase in business is due to a new program more than the new year.

“It’s quick, easy, and in one place,” she said. “People like that.”

Whitten said Curves, which is a popular fitness center for women, usually sees an increase in participation after February when “women get done helping everyone.”

This year has been a little abnormal, though. Not only has business already picked up, but the centers are seeing younger women join in, Whitten said.

“We do have slow and peak times,” she said. “We usually drop-off during the summer when everyone goes on vacation.”

Email: jbrown@panews.com

Twitter: @joshnathanbrown

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