The start of a new year is often a time when thousands of us start to cut down on the calories in an attempt to beat the Christmas bulge.

Statistics released by the Fitness Industry Association show January is the most popular time to join a gym, but that 22 per cent who do join will have thrown in the towel after less than six months.

But there are ways of making sure that your new year's resolution to become more active remains attainable - and fun at the same time.

Gym and fitness centres are often perceived as expensive and full of body-beautiful people but in reality this isn't the case.

If you are new to physical activity, your local authority leisure or sports centre can be a great place to start.

They offer value-for-money packages or, as you don't need to be a member to use the facilities, you can pay as you play.

This means you can try out a variety of different activities such as exercise classes, swimming or even more competitive sports such as badminton, to see what activity suits you and keep your motivation levels high.

Another great way to keep active all year round is by joining a local club or even volunteering within a sports club.

The city of York, and Selby Ryedale, Hambleton and Harrogate districts, all have a whole host of local sports clubs, to tempt even the most repressed armchair enthusiast.

Local clubs are crying out for new members and volunteers and there really is an opportunity for everyone, at every level.

So why not make just one resolution this year and stick to it - wave good-bye to inactivity and say hello to a more active and fitter life in 2007 and beyond.

For more information about your local sports and leisure facilities please contact your local authority or log onto the North Yorkshire Sport website - David Watson, Executive director, North Yorkshire Sport, Sedgefield House, Kings Road, Harrogate.