This weekend, millions of us will make New Year's resolutions. Among the most popular: getting into shape.
Some will join a health club or sign up for swimming lessons at the city pool; others will work the New Year's Eve champagne out of their system with a brisk walk.
Health clubs, YMCAs and city recreation centers are prepared for this and offer a variety of ways to work out and feel better.
"Our classes are always filled in January," said Margie Prichard, recreation supervisor with the city of Tarpon Springs. "I hear people saying they went to too many parties and ate too many goodies and now they're paying for it."
Local YMCAs have started a new campaign, "The YMCA _ Your New Year's Resolution Solution."
Starting Monday, the two local Y's will offer a week's free membership, an appointment with a personal trainer and a fitness evaluation, plus a water bottle.
"We're trying to attract those first-of-the-year people and introduce them to the YMCA's long-standing involvement in the area of health and fitness." said Steve Tarver, president of YMCAs of the Suncoast.
The city of Clearwater is starting new Jazzercise and Dancercise classes, and many city recreation centers are offering everything from walking programs to swimming, martial arts to folk dancing, water aerobics to yoga. Largo has a long-running and popular "Golden Motion" stretch and low-impact aerobics class that draws senior adults, including 92-year-old Edy Kilroe. She has come to the classes for 17 years.
"I don't know what I'd do without this," said the Largo widow, dressed out in a violet blouse and matching flowers in her silver hair. "I'll do it as long as I can."
Instructor Donna Day said all but the most fit should "start slow and be kind to yourself" when starting an exercise program.
Largo also offers classes for the younger set, "Fit Kids" for preschoolers.
"They're not ready for organized sports, but their parents want to keep them from being sedentary. The kids see mom and dad working out and want to do it too," said Ed Smith, recreation program manager at Largo's Southwest Recreation Complex.
Beginning a fitness program is the easy part, instructors say; sticking with it is a challenge.
"People want a quick fix," said John Savage, owner of Future Fitness in Clearwater. He estimates two out of 10 people stay with a program.
His advice? Stick with it, take it slow, perhaps two days a week, and vary activities.
"Walk with your wife. Ride your bike. Do something else so that you don't get bored doing the same thing."
Here are some numbers to call to find exercise and fitness programs near you. Commercial health clubs are listed in the Yellow Pages under "Health Clubs."
Clearwater Parks and Recreation Department: 462-6531
Dunedin Leisure Services-Athletics: 738-1902
Largo Parks and Recreation: 587-6775
Safety Harbor (Clearwater Long Center): 724-1570; (Community Center) 724-1530
YMCA Clearwater Family Center, 1005 Highland Ave. S, 461-9622
YMCA of North Pinellas, 4550 Village Center Drive, Palm Harbor, 784-8333