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Successful exercise and fitness plan centered around lifestyle choices

VINCE GIANANGELI of Colerain exercises and does strength training at Wheeling Hospital’s Howard Long Wellness Center in Wheeling several times a week.

By SCOTT McCLOSKEY

For The Times Leader

WHEELING — Better fitness, more exercise and healthier eating habits seem to be a recurring theme on most New Year’s resolutions lists.

For folks looking to take a more active approach toward better health and fitness going into the new year, creating an individual plan that makes exercise and wellness part of your lifestyle is the key to long term success, according to Wheeling Hospital’s Howard Long Wellness Center Director Joe Slavik.

“Obviously, every year people make New Year resolutions and they’re interested in starting an exercise program or a weight management program or a combination of both, which is the ideal situation,” Slavik explained. “A lot of people don’t have the right plan of attack when they start. So we try to give them on an individual exercise program to make sure that they understand a couple of different things,” he added.

Some of those things include: making sure the plan works into their daily lifestyle and routine and setting realistic goals.

He said they work with patrons of the center based on their goals and their medical status.

“If you’re bouncing around and exercising at different time periods, it’s not going work,” Slavik commented. “The people that have good adherence to their exercise program are those who set up a time period and they stick to it, (with occasional exceptions).”

He said for those who start exercising on a whim, without a plan, it generally doesn’t work out in the longterm.

“If you want to loose 50 pounds in two months, or three months, it’s not going to happen. It’s got to be a gradual approach so the body can get used to the changes,” he added.

Slavik said a one or two pound a week weight-loss program is a more realistic goal that will work longterm.

Slavik said the fitness consulting staff at the wellness center will work to help individuals who are signing up at the beginning of a new year to figure out a long term plan. He said they are there to help guide each person through an individual plan and answer any questions that may help enhance or streamline an individual’s workout.

“Based on the goals of the individual, we will set up an exercise routine that will have a combination of both strength training and cardio equipment,” Slavik explained.

He said each plan will be different based on each individual’s goals. In addition to exercise programs, Slavik said the center also has licensed dietitians on staff that can talk to people one-on-one about healthier eating habits.

In addition, they offer ongoing weight management classes for those interested in signing up.

Vince Gianangeli of Colerain, a six-year member of the Wellness Center, echoed Slaviks comments, explaining that his long-term success at the center continues to pivot around making it part of his weekly routine and lifestyle.

He said when he gained about 20 pounds nearly six years ago, it created a reason for him to make a healthy lifestyle change. He said since that time he has carved out at least three to four days a week to workout and exercise.

“I also eat healthy. That’s a big part of it. … I’m not on a diet. It’s a lifestyle,” he said. “If I don’t come here, I feel bad. … Somehow you’ve got to find time to stay healthy.”