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Ester Marsh column: Are you in need of a slight push?

Are you in need of a slight push to get moving?

Getting out of a habit makes it so much harder to get back into it. I found out years ago that not everyone enjoys exercising. Actually, most of the ones I interviewed didn’t. I couldn’t believe it because they were at the Y every day. The No. 1 answer of the ones who do not like to exercise was that they love the way it makes them feel. They said they feel so much better when they exercise, not just physically but also mentally.

So the Cincinnati YMCA started a STRONG Challenge this past August to get not only their members but also the whole community involved to move. It was and has been so successful that they have shared it with us, the Rowan-Cabarrus YMCA. The STRONG Challenge is a six-week program which is free to anyone to participate. Each week, you will be emailed a different challenge. This week is our first week and our challenge is setting goals. This upcoming week’s challenge is Play. After you sign up online at https://rocabymca.org/strong-member-challenge , you will receive three emails a week to keep you motivated.

On Monday is the week’s challenge, on Wednesday comes encouragement for you to continue (because you can do it) and Friday celebrates the week’s challenge. The goal is to move 20 minutes a day five days per week. It can be anything — walking, playing golf, walking your dog, group exercise class, swimming, gardening, raking leaves, anything that makes you move. After you sign up, you can pick up your free magnetic calendar at one of our six Rowan-Cabarrus YMCA locations (when you sign up, you pick one of them and that’s where you pick up your calendar) to track your progress. Of course this is by honor system. If we can’t be honest with ourselves we absolutely can’t expect anything in return.

If you haven’t signed up, it’s not too late to reach your goal. Sign up today and exercise six days a week, 20 minutes a day to reach your goal or sign up no later than Friday and you will have to move almost every day until Nov. 29 to reach your goal. If you are a YMCA member or become a YMCA member by the time the challenge is over, you will receive an awesome vintage STRONG Challenge T-shirt after you successfully complete the STRONG Challenge! I have signed up myself even that I exercise most days of the week. It has been great fun and we are only in our first week. There is a Rowan-Cabarrus YMCA STRONG Challenge Facebook page where people can post their videos and pictures of all the fun things they are doing while moving. There also will be live and pop-up classes being launched during this challenge. So anyone who needs a push to get off the couch or away from your computer, this or any other challenges or groups that promotes movement is the way to help you do that. Once more, you do not have to be a YMCA member; the minimum you get is a magnetic dry-erase calendar, amazing encouragement and support and one big step in the right direction to a healthy lifestyle!

Let’s do it!

Ester Hoeben Marsh is health and fitness director of the JF Hurley YMCA and STRONG Challenge participant.

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