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Sidestep the seasonal seven

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By Katy Korkos

Somewhere between “six geese a-laying” and “eight maids a-milking” lies seven pounds of seasonal weight gain for the average American.Seven pounds are the average weight Americans put on between Thanksgiving and New Year, and if the first few ounces crept on yesterday, accompanied by turkey and all the trimmings, Los Alamos County offers ways to work them off.The county’s parks and recreation department is doing what it can to help locals stay fit through the winter, with programs like Skate with Santa and the Luminaria Skate on Christmas Eve, Warm Water Weekends and Wacky Wednesdays at the Aquatic Center, and mile after mile of pleasant trails.The Los Alamos County Ice Rink is celebrating its 60th anniversary this season, and offers recreational skating from November to February, open 120 to 125 hours per week, weather permitting. Skate with Santa is this weekend’s big event at the ice rink, and Santa will be skating and handing out candy canes 6-9 p.m. Friday, 3-6 p.m. Saturday and 1-3 p.m. Sunday.One hour of ice-skating by an average-sized adult will burn 509 calories, as opposed to 276 calories burned by walking or 254 calories doing housework or even playing golf if you ride on the cart, according to the health and fitness website nutrio.com.Swimming is just as effective as ice-skating, and the Aquatic Center is open from 6 a.m. - 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 6 a.m.-7 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturdays and 1-5 p.m. Sundays. It costs $3.50 for an adult one-time swim, $2.25 for youth, and $2.50 for seniors 60 and over to swim at the Aquatic Center, and there are several different types of passes for individuals and families to bring the cost per swim down for those who like to swim regularly.Medline plus, a service of the U.S. National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health, reports that it takes 3,500 calories to add a pound of fat, or 3,500 fewer calories in the diet to lose a pound of fat. Burning those same 3,500 calories with increased exercise benefits the body in two ways: by building muscle as well as losing weight.An average-sized adult would have to walk more than 30 miles in a day to burn 3,500 calories, but walking one mile a day for 30 days has the same effect. In addition to miles of sidewalks for safe walking, the canyons and mesas in and around Los Alamos are linked by a 58-mile network of trails, according to the information posted on the county’s website.  Hikers, runners, horseback riders, mountain bikers and other trail users delight in the variety of trails from which to choose. The White Rock loop, on Meadow Lane and Rover Blvd. measures  about 3.2 miles (a useful fact for people training for a 5K run or walk).LA Fitness, Curves and the YMCA all offer exercise equipment, fitness professionals on site and aerobic conditioning.The public library offers free access for library cardholders to the online health database “Well-connected” for lots more information on health topics.This would be a great time to strive to be below average, and avoid the “seasonal seven.”For more information, call the Ice rink at 662-4500, the Aquatic Center 662-8170 or the Recreation Division’s main number at  662-8173. The county’s website, www.lac-nm.us, has downloadable trail maps and lists hours and fees for all of the Parks and Recreation facilities.