LaDonna Ento and Tabitha Davis are on a mission to get fit. The duo worked out recently at the Jefferson Regional Medical Center Wellness Center — a practice they started two weeks ago.

LaDonna Ento and Tabitha Davis are on a mission to get fit. The duo worked out recently at the Jefferson Regional Medical Center Wellness Center — a practice they started two weeks ago.

“I’m unhappy with my weight,” Ento said recently. “I want to look better and do better in the new year. It’s going to be a new year and a new me.”

Davis agreed.

“I want to get in shape and be healthy,” Davis said, adding that she and Ento have vowed to help each other stay motivated.

The women aren’t the only ones setting fitness goals for the coming year.

Walking on a nearby treadmill, Patrick Lucas said he wants to continue the path he started out on two years ago. He started exercising regularly after finding himself out of breath one day when he bent down to tie his shoe.

“It made me want to learn about eating better and doing the right thing,” he said. “Now, I have more energy, I feel good and I don’t eat a lot of the food that I used to eat. It’s not a diet. I call it eating smart.”

Many people are looking toward the coming year with fitness in mind and local wellness and recreation centers are offering incentives to get residents moving in 2012.

The JRMC Wellness Center in Pine Bluff and the Wellness Center in White Hall are offering a $99 cap on the joining fee no matter how many family members join. The offer is available until Jan. 31. And instead of requiring new members to pay for four months in advance as they have in the past, the centers will allow new enrollees to pay monthly under the special offer. Prorated fees will still apply. For more information, call 870-541-7890.

Fitness experts say exercising and eating right can go a long way toward improving health and well-being. Whether you are working out at a gym or walking around the neighborhood, exercise is so important, said Jason Rogers, manager of the JRMC Wellness Center in Pine Bluff and the center in White Hall.

“We’ve got to move more and eat less,” he said. “Eat more of the right things and less of the wrong things. Stay away from fried food and eat more fruits and vegetables.”

Lean protein such as skinless chicken and turkey is also a good choice. And instead of frying fish, try baking or grilling it, he said.

Rogers said there is no better investment than investing in your health.

“Being healthier is going to make ever aspect of life better,” he said.

According to the Arkansas Department of Health, more than a third of Arkansans are overweight and almost one third are obese. Obesity has been connected with such health problems as high blood pressure, heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

The Pine Bluff Arsenal Recreation Services will start a 12-week Biggest Loser Weight Loss Program on Jan. 9 that will focus on fitness and nutrition. Participants must register by Jan. 5. Confidential individual weigh-ins are required once a week. Prizes will be awarded periodically during the program but there will be one overall winner. The cost of the program is $100. For more information, contact Summer Broach at 870-540-3621.

Jimmy Lee Robinson, known as “Mr. Get Better,” encourages viewers to work out during videos that have been posted on YouTube. Visit www.youtube.com and search for Get Better Fitness Season 2. The sessions are part of the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff’s Black & Gold/Fit & Bold Wellness Program. Line dancing has been one of the popular classes offered to university staff and the public.