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5 Healthy Resolutions for Women

Experts share their thoughts on the top 5 things women can do to get healthy and well in the new year.

New Year's Resolution No. 2: Jump Outside the Box

Many women who resolve to become more physically active think of going to the gym. They tend to hit the aerobic machines or join group exercise classes. They may get discouraged easily because they don't achieve desired weight loss or muscle tone in a certain time frame. They may quit because of lack of time, energy, or money. Or, they may tire of the gym atmosphere.

There are dozens of reasons why the best of workout intentions fall by the wayside come February. Yet they don't have to end up that way if you're willing to step outside of a certain mode of thinking -- that exercise has to be done a certain way, at a certain place, at a certain time, and for a certain amount of time.

"Sometimes people have this 'all or none' mentality and they're so gung-ho and so excited when they set the resolution that they judge themselves too harshly if they don't perfectly adhere to what they've established," says Cedric Bryant, PhD, chief exercise physiologist for the American Council on Exercise.

He says many people make resolutions that are either unrealistic or too vague. A woman, for instance, may resolve to lose 10 pounds in two weeks. If she doesn't see desired results, she becomes discouraged and gives up.

It's better to set fitness goals that are realistic, achievable, and well defined. For example, a woman may strive to lose one to two pounds per week by exercising three to four times per week and holding off on seconds at the dinner table.

While the trend is changing, too many women don't do valuable resistance training, says Bryant. According to the Mayo Clinic, enhanced muscle mass can not only help better manage weight, it can also improve endurance, maintain the flexibility of joints, and reverse age-related declines in strength, bone density, and muscle mass.

Even very busy women can do resistance training and aerobic exercise, as they do not necessarily require a visit to a fitness center. "If you can't get to the gym, what can you do today to be more active?" asks Saralyn Mark, MD, senior medical adviser for the Office on Women's Health in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. "Can it be walking a little bit further in the parking lot, and using the stairs, or raking your leaves?"

"There's a lot you can do with just what is around you," says Mark. "The best part is that you don't have to get into a fancy gym outfit. You can be comfortable and you can do it while you're watching the news."

New Year's Resolution No. 3: Guard Against the Bone Thief

This may not sound like a popular health resolution, but it is a crucial one for women and girls of all ages.

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