Every year, about 45 percent of Americans make a new year's resolution, but only 8 percent of them are actually successful, according to Statistics Brain Research Institute.

The Camden Herald is running a series to help improve those odds. Each week, we will feature one of the most common new year's resolutions and ask an expert for advice on how to enter the resolution winner's circle in 2016.

When people decide to get in shape, it is often because they want to lose weight or look better in their swimsuits. But there are far more important reasons to exercise than looking good.

Research shows that exercise decreases stress and depression and lowers your risk of diseases like type II diabetes, colon cancer and dementia.

To help you reap these benefits, Theo Berez, the Wellness Director at Pen Bay YMCA, offered the following advice on getting fit and healthy in 2016.

I haven’t exercised in ages. Where do I start?

I get this question a lot. The biggest obstacle for people to commit to a regular exercise routine is time. Work schedules, family schedules, volunteer commitments can be overwhelming and give people barely enough time to eat. Start with 10 minutes a day and be realistic about the time available to you so you can feel good about your fitness commitment and not let it overwhelm or haunt you if you miss a workout. Tomorrow is a new day. Getting started is a great opportunity to work with a trainer, join a class and find a buddy to keep you on track.

Which is important, doing cardio or lifting weights?

EVERYTHING is important! People will feel better with as much movement as possible. Movement, sweating, stretching, elevated heart rate and time for yourself all happen when you choose cardio or weights. My hope is that people will find time for both. The complexities that occur in our bodies while we workout and after are unbeatable in keeping our “systems” healthy. People may not realize that a workout with just weights will have a small calorie burn during the workout, but the metabolic effects keep the burn going all day long. Our bodies need to work harder and in turn burn more calories trying to maintain muscle. I call it the “after burn.” The cardio calorie burn will be much higher during your workout and will end soon after your workout ends. Hence, the “actual burn.”

With the family and the job, I don’t have a lot of time to exercise. What’s the minimum amount of exercise needed to be healthy?

I like to think ANY exercise is better than NO exercise. The recommendation is 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity a week or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity. Or, a combination of the two along with two or more days of large muscle group exercises as part of the total recommended minutes. Bottom line: some is better than none. I have not heard anyone say “Wow, I wish I didn’t workout today.”

I have a bum knee. What kind of exercise can I do?

Knees, shoulders and backs are the most common injuries that limit people during exercise. Working with a trainer is a great way to get some exercise ideas that can help minimize further damage or pain. If there has been a specific injury, it is really helpful to see your doctor first to get the go ahead and possibly a referral to a physical therapist for treatment. It is common, with the clients permission, for a physical therapist and personal trainer to communicate and continue the exercises and build upon the exercises prescribed.

What’s the secret to sticking to a workout program?

The million dollar question…. I wish I had the answer or a magic wand! Usually, there is some sort of accountability component. Join a class where people will wonder where you are if you don’t make it to class. Find a buddy to meet at the gym or class. Schedule it as you would a meeting for work. Have a standing appointment with a trainer. Exercise should be given the same priority as brushing your teeth. Do something every day even if it is just for 10 minutes.

Any other advice?

Be consistent. Be consistent. Be consistent. The exercise world has not been revolutionized with new exercises or programs. Programs are designed to keep people interested. A push up is a push up. A pull up is a pull up. I guarantee one thing: If you ask a friend who has lost weight or become more “in shape” it is the consistency in diet and exercise. Make small changes and add to your plan instead of making a huge plan and realizing it is not feasible and quitting. Also, find something you like to do.

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