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Ester Marsh column — Keep moving, even during holidays

Keep moving, even during the holidays.

With the pandemic, it is more important than ever to keep our bodies in shape by exercising, eating healthy and drinking enough water. The holidays are challenging enough, but during COVID-19 the challenges have skyrocketed. To make you feel better, the YMCA is a safe place to come exercise.

Of 89 locations from Sept. 4-Nov. 30 and 1,266,142 visits, there were 57 positive COVID-19 cases, or a percentage of 0.0045%. I know at our YMCAs, the small number of positive cases were contracted outside our facilities. I have been in contact with Matt Marsh from the Forum and they are the same, lots of usage of the facility, no known cases. We all want this community to be strong and healthy and the only way we can do this is to exercise our bodies. The better the health, the greater our resistance to any illness.

So how can we motivate ourselves to keep moving during this crazy season? First, we must abide by the state mandates. Remember my column about social responsibility? Please wear a mask when inside and, yes, while exercising (We want our facilities to stay open). Wash your hands often and clean up after yourselves after using each machine. I tell people if you are not sure if a piece of equipment is clean enough, clean before you get on it. If you are not sure about working out inside, come check out our facilities first.

The next step is to plan your workouts. Set a specific day and time and have some backup slots available. Plan for one hour (30 minutes if you are a beginner) but still go if you only have 10-30 minutes. It’s all about quality, not quantity. It’s better to regularly exercise three times per week for the rest of your life than every day and quit after one month because it feels like a part-time job. And hydrate! During the hot months, it seems to be a lot easier but even during the cold months it is as important. Health experts recommend the 8×8 rule — eight 8-ounce glasses of water/fluids per day (water is best). First, check how much water you drink and increase it by 8 ounces every few days to a week. Believe it or not, this will also help with your digestive system and many give credit to drinking enough water for their weight loss success. And of course, watch those calories. Being aware what goes in your mouth is a huge start. On the days you eat more calories, try to move more too.

So in a nutshell: plan your workouts and do them; hydrate enough; and watch those calories. As we all know, the holidays will look very different for all of us. However, that does not mean that we cannot make amazing memories and enjoy the people you are able to visit with. And most of all, keep our spirits high and our hearts open. Merry Christmas and happy holidays to all!

Ester H. Marsh is health and fitness director of the J.F. Hurley Family YMCA.

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