This time of year is often a time for looking back at the past as well as forward to the upcoming year. It's a great time to reflect on changes we desire to make and to resolve to follow through with those changes. Would you like to become more active? Do you want to lose weight and become more fit? Would having more energy improve your quality of life? If your answer is yes to any of these questions, know that you can reach your goals in a fun and healthful way and in a supportive and non-threatening environment. One especially beneficial form of exercise that has tremendous potential for transformative change is strength training. It can benefit people of all ages and fitness levels. You can strengthen your body in many different ways. You don't have to lift heavy weights, use exercise machines or take high intensity exercise classes. You can achieve the same results with tools such as light hand weights, exercise bands, exercise balls or even your own body weight.Yes, strength training will help you look and feel more fit, plus there are many additional benefits to your overall health. Following a consistent strength training program will:• Stop, prevent, and even reverse bone and muscle loss• Help decrease arthritic pain • Decrease blood glucose levels in diabetics• Elevate endorphin levels that help decrease feelings of depression and increase quality of sleep• Make muscles stronger which helps to improve posture and balance• Burn calories even after exercise. More calories are used to make and maintain muscle massA perfect complement to strength training is tai chi chuan. Practiced by the Chinese for centuries as a way to enhance health and promote longevity, tai chi is based on breathing, gentle movement and balance. Its rhythmic movements are harmonious and resemble dance. Tai chi has been used to improve a variety of health conditions including:• Arthritis• Respiratory and cardiovascular disorders• Anxiety and depression• Balance problemsHealing Horizons offers strength training and tai chi classes in a fun and non-threatening environment. If you are unsure of what kind of exercise program will best suit your needs, give us a call at Healing Horizons.Are you looking for a little more? While these exercise options offer a multitude of benefits on their own, when combined with an individualized nutrition plan and treatments such as acupuncture, behavioral health, and massage to optimize your physical, mental, and emotional health, the sky is the limit on what you can achieve in becoming a healthier and happier you. If you are interested in maximizing your overall health potential, ask about our Jumpstart Weight Management Program.With more than 15 years experience in the health and wellness field, Shannon McCluskey is a registered massage therapist and exercise physiologist at Healing Horizons Integrated Health Solutions, located at 2139 N. 12th St. #7. For more information, call 970-256-8449.