Fitness instructor Lisa McDaniel said it happens every year at this time: hordes of people flock to gyms and fitness centers to get in shape.
"It has to be the most common new year's resolution there is," said McDaniel, a Lombard resident who teaches the popular Zumba fitness program. "Unfortunately, I think most of those people give up by, say, mid-February."
McDaniel offered a free Zumba class Sunday during the Lombard Park District's annual Health Fair and Fitness Expo. The event included fitness demonstrations and exhibits from local businesses and health care groups about diet and nutrition.
Other park districts in the area held similar events during the first full weekend of 2012. The Wood Dale Park District held a health fair Sunday. The Wheaton Park District is hosting an open house at its fitness center that runs through Monday.
All were designed to respond to residents' new year concerns about their health and waistlines.
"This is absolutely when people are thinking most about these issues," said Debbie Whitcher, aquatic/facility manager for the Lombard Park District. "We used to hold this event in February. When we moved to early January, it became much more successful."
McDaniel's Zumba class was the Lombard fair's first event. Zumba workouts are based around dance moves, and they use various forms of Latin/international music.
"What I love about it is that you have so much fun, you forget you're actually exercising," McDaniel said.
McDaniel acknowledged that actually sticking to a new year's resolution is easier said than done. She said residents interested in getting in shape should pick an exercise activity they enjoy.
"If you hate running, don't start a running program," she said. "You're much more likely to give up. There are so many other options out there."
Villa Park resident Janet Jackson attended the Lombard health fair as a local distributor for Juice Plus, a line of dietary supplements containing fruit and vegetable juice extracts. She was there to push the nutrition side of overall fitness.
"Nutrition is every bit as important to our health as exercise," said Jackson, who's also a fitness instructor. "I started doing this because I realized not everyone was eating all the fruits and vegetables they should."
Whitcher said she hopes the expo inspires at least a few residents to stick to their new year's resolutions this year.
"The park district is here to help people with their fitness efforts," she said. "It's just a matter of taking advantage of it."