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Ester Marsh column: Getting back into the swing of things after being active outside

We seem to have gone from summer weather to winter weather pretty much overnight! Last weekend at a cross country meet, our Hurley YMCA Warriors were wearing short sleeves and many people were still in shorts! This Saturday that was not the case — all bundled up and layered.

It is hard when you have been used to doing things outside like walking, yard work, cycling or even boating and water sports. Of course, there are hardcore people who run even in snow or ice and other outdoor enthusiasts who don’t let the weather dictate their activities. But most people will come inside when the weather gets cold.

So how can you make that transition? When you are an outdoors exerciser, being inside is like “jail time.” First, try not to look at it that way. Look at coming inside for other opportunities to train your body to be better, faster, stronger or whatever your goal may be. In any sport or activity, cross training is recommended. Have you tried swimming? How about taking a group exercise class? Look for other chances to test your body to become healthier. So where do you start?

I know at our YMCA, we are able to give you all kinds of options such as swimming, basketball, volleyball, racquetball, pickle ball, fitness, group exercises classes on land and in the water, functional training and so on. I always believe in trying different things because you might find something you love doing. It makes it so much easier to stay healthy when you look forward doing a particular activity or exercise.

To get back in the swing of things, you have to make a plan. Whether you stick to it or use it as a guide, its imperative to become and stay successful. Look at what time of day you feel is best for you to exercise. It might be different from when you were outside, especially since it gets dark at 5:45 p.m.! Being inside, you don’t have to worry about that. Then, at that time frame, what is available that sounds interesting to you?

Is there a reason you are scared to try something new? For example, a water exercise class. Many people think you have to know how to swim to be able to take a water exercise class. That’s not the case. You can stay in chest deep water holding on to the side if you feel more comfortable with that. Others think that swimming lessons are only for children, that they are too old to learn how to swim. I believe for safety reasons, everyone should learn how to save themselves when they are in the water and you are never too old to learn new things!

How about walking into a big fitness center as a first timer? You know you should work out with weights and do cardio throughout the winter months, but maybe you just don’t know where to begin. At our YMCA and many other places, they will help you get started with a program that works for you, so you feel comfortable coming in and doing your exercises.

What if you are confined to a wheelchair and don’t think there is anything for you available inside? We have numerous pieces of equipment which are equipped to move the seating part so you can roll your wheel chair right under it and do the exercise. We have classes where you can get a great upper body workout from your wheelchair.

As you can tell, I will find a solution to any obstacle that will keep you from exercising. Sometimes, I have to dig deep but I will find something for you to do!

So whether you have been active or not during the summer months and warm fall, there are wonderful things you can do to keep (or start getting) you healthy through the winter months. For a specific training regimen, call or email me at the JF Hurley YMCA or any other certified trainer at a place near you to help you set a plan to stay active through the winter months, especially since Thanksgiving is only 10 days away!

Where there is a will, there is a way!

Ester H Marsh, Health & Fitness Director JF Hurley Family YMCA

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