The holidays are winding down and many of us are about to do something we do every year with mixed results – resolve to get fit in the New Year.

The problem is that many of us turn to expensive workout DVDs that start gathering dust after about six weeks . . . if we ever open them. Or we join a gym or sign up for exercise classes that we rarely attend. Or get on a diet program that works for a while, until we return to old eating habits.

As a physician who specializes in sports medicine and pain management, and as a member of the Mayor’s Fitness Council, I want you to be successful this year. So instead ordering the latest fitness video, go online and sign up for the FitCitySA Fitness Challenge at

This is an eight-week challenge that is tied into the larger strategy of helping the community to get healthy. Designed by the Mayor’s Fitness Council, the FitCitySA Fitness Challenge is appropriate for anyone age 13 and older.

Adults are encouraged to track at least 150 minutes of activity weekly; 60 minutes daily for youth. You can track a variety of activities from traditional gym workouts, cycling, running and jogging to Zumba, yoga, pilates and much more.

Do you walk your dog? You can count that as exercise, along with playing with your children or doing yard work. Unlike some online fitness apps, this program allows you to track customized workouts. Are you aluchador(a masked Mexican wrestler) on the weekends or do you bang bodies in a roller derby league? You can count that activity on the FitCitySA Fitness Challenge.

And best of all, it’s free.

There’s no cost and countless benefits from signing up and taking part at The website has a deep vault of resources for preparing for your first 5K run, workouts you can do at work, healthy eating and much more.

It’s not going to work for everyone but for some of us, all it takes is a little organization and personal accountability to start making real change. By tracking your progress and perhaps sharing your personal fitness story, you may find you are excited about getting up and getting going every day.

You can gauge your personal progress and keep up with others who have signed up for the program. There’s a mobile version that makes it easy to track and update your results. And after your eight-week challenge is over, you may find you want to start again and make even more progress or use the FitCitySA Fitness Challenge to help maintain your fitness regimen.

San Antonio is making strides in the right direction to help the community get healthy and stay healthy. Free fitness-in-the-park classes, the semi-annual Sícvlovía ( and improved workout stations at city parks are all part of ongoing efforts to create opportunities for getting healthy. But these are just that – opportunities. We must take advantage of them to turn the tide on obesity and related preventable health problems (diabetes, heart disease and more) that deprive us of quality of life.

The FitCitySA Challenge – that website again is – is an effective resource that will work, if we make the effort.

Have a safe and Happy New Year!



Annette “Dr. Z” Zaharoff, a former professional tennis player on the WTA Circuit, heads the Non-Surgical Center of Texas, focusing on non-surgical alternatives to relieve pain and repair injuries. Learn more about her at