Resolved to improve your health this year?

It's Jan. 1. Have you made your resolutions yet? Is one of them to take better care of yourself?

Making a New Year's resolution to improve your health is an important thing you can do for you and your family. But where does someone even begin to make such a huge lifestyle change?

One of the best places to start would be the West Cabarrus YMCA, where Health Promotions Nurse Susan Yaguda is there to help you get started with their Path to Wellness Program. "This is a six-week wellness program during which participants have access to all three branches of Cannon Memorial YMCA. I meet with participants individually on a weekly basis, and they also meet with fitness staff at the YMCA," Yaguda said. "People with a wide variety of needs participate in this program. Some just want to lose weight, some have other serious health conditions, and some are post-rehab from surgery. ... A lot of variety."

Yaguda is part of outreach services at CMC-NorthEast, where YMCA members come to her with health- and wellness-related questions. For instance, some want their blood pressure, weight or BMI monitored, while others like having someone to be accountable to. She has also just completed the foundations training for integrative health coaching at Duke Integrative Medicine in Durham.

"While I believe that I have been functioning as a health coach of sorts, through this awesome training, I have much more clarity into how to better serve those who are looking to improve their health," she said.

The West Cabarrus YMCA has many other programs going on that Yaguda has spearheaded. "We also have a cancer wellness program that I developed and facilitate. It is called Stepping Forward and is for any cancer survivor desiring to improve their overall level of wellness, deal with fatigue and also to provide a variety of educational and support services related to cancer survivorship," said Yaguda.

"Another focus of programming has been childhood obesity. I developed and facilitate a program called Building Blocks, which is for parents of children ages 5-12 who are overweight or obese. The children meet with an exercise physiologist, and I meet with the parents, once a week for six weeks."

Now that 2012 is here, there is no better time to start something fresh and new. I am sure Yaguda or any other YMCA staff member will be more than happy to help you out.

Wishing all of you a Very Happy and Very Healthy New Year.