Living a healthy lifestyle requires that you get serious.

People want to be in shape but they don’t take it seriously. Being serious is a day to day challenge and struggle. Being serious means that you must follow an exercise program and control your diet over an extended period of time. Limiting day to day stress and getting the proper amount of sleep is also part of getting serious about your health. If you burn that candle at both ends and let life overcome you, it will affect your health.

There are many things in life that can entice you that are not aligned with a healthy lifestyle.

A beer occasionally won’t kill you, but daily consumption can take its toll. Sometimes when the doctor gives you the diagnosis that unless you get serious about your health, you will suffer the consequences, a light will come on and the person will get serious and get on board with the program.

Getting serious does require that you get on a program.

The good news is that a program should and must be based on your level and interests. You could be a walker, you could be a biker, you could be a swimmer, you could do CrossFit, yoga or join some other fitness program.

My neighbor is a serious walker. Every day for as long as I can remember he has put in the mileage, and that mileage has changed his weight and level of fitness.

Some people bike. Now that the bike path to Pokagon State Park is open, I expect myself and others in town will add some serious mileage to our biking program.

Swimming at the YMCA is a great option. It is easy on the joints and you can swim at different times of the day that fit your schedule.

Angola now has a CrossFit Gym, and over time doing a CrossFit workout will change you.

Whatever gym or class you join will help you get serious. The seniors who are part of the Silver Sneakers exercise programs are serious because they do not miss and they gain a lot of support from the other participants in the program.

What do you have to do to get serious? You have to find something that you like to do, and you have to do it, daily and weekly and eventually yearly, until it becomes a habit.

It in many ways will define who you are. You should also participate with others who have the same interests.

The Land of Lakes Running Club is serious about running. They train together and are advocates for the sport.

If you are a biker, go see Joe Hysong at our local bike shop, Bike and Soul, and he will help you get involved with other local biking enthusiasts.

Go to CrossFit Angola, the YMCA of Steuben County, Club Fitness, Anytime Fitness or Fitt4Life and become active in many of their exercise programs. You will meet others who have the same interests and challenges. You will help them and they can help you.

Get serious about your health! If a year from now, you are still on the program, still getting in your daily workouts, then you can say that you are SERIOUS!

Bill Maddock is an assistant coach and associate professor at Trine University and a founding member of Shape Up Steuben.

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