Lose weight, exercise regularly, eat better: If you're like many people, you made similar resolutions as the new year arrived.

As a result, more people have joined health clubs, started exercise classes and returned to workout routines during the first week of the new year.

Saturday morning marked the beginning of a new term of exercise and wellness classes offered through Blue Mountain Community College. Karen Eddy, a certified exercise leader through the American College of Sports Medicine, instructs abdominal toning, beginning yoga and resistance training, balance and flexibility classes held at Good Shepherd Medical Center in Hermiston.

Eddy, who has worked for BMCC for 15 years and taught fitness classes for 20 years, sees an increase in people seeking exercise classes after the first of the year.

"They just want to get moving around," she said. "They haven't done anything in awhile."

Stephanie Joseph, who had her third child eight months ago participated in the abdominal training class. She said it's been a decision in the making for 11 years, since she had her first child. She thought the new year was a good time to take action.

"I was hoping this would kick start me to exercise," she said. "I was hoping my coming here would get me into a workout routine."

Deanna Phelan began attending the yoga class in January 2005. After seeing a flyer about the class, she thought it would be a good way to exercise and relieve stress as the new year began.

"It relieves the stress and it stretches the muscles. It really relieves stress," she emphasized.

Phelan is sold on yoga's benefits. She encouraged her sister, Jennifer West, 16, to try it last January.

"It makes me feel better," West said.

Angie Pedro, who recently moved back to Hermiston, also participated in the ab class.

She had a foot injury that resulted in hip pain. She immediately felt the benefits from the exercise.

"I think it's helping already," Pedro told Eddy.

After the ab class, Pedro stayed for the yoga class.

"I've never done yoga - I decided to try it too," she said.

Eddy reminded participants the class isn't a competition, but about each individual and their goals and abilities.

"You need to listen to your body," she told the class.

"It's telling me it's been a long time," Joseph said with a laugh.

She wasn't deterred however, because she has a big incentive to continue.

"I'm going to Palm Springs in April and I want to wear a swimsuit," she said.

Neal Simpson, general manager of Roundup Athletic Club in Pendleton thinks it's difficult to gauge this early in the year whether people are following up on resolutions to get in shape.

"It's kind of hard to tell already - although we already sold 12 memberships," he said regarding the first four days of the new year. "If we continue that pace we'll do 70 or 80 this month, which is a pretty good month."

Simpson said people haven't specifically said they were joining the club as part of a New Year's resolution. He has also seen an increase in returning members resuming workout schedules.

"People I haven't seen for awhile, I've seen this week," Simpson said. "So it's in the front of people's minds."

Jerame Linnell, owner of The Fitness Center in Hermiston, has seen a similar trend.

"We had a pretty big increase the last couple of weeks before the end of the year," he said.

Since the new year Linnell has seen an increase in people coming in, both returning members and people looking for memberships.

"It kind of drops off at the holidays," he said regarding people working out. "We see them all come in after the first."

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