Woman doing a yoga pose in a yoga class

Where to start you ask? Our answer would be “Wherever you want!” The point is just start! The Y Health and Wellness Staff are prepared to meet you where you’re at and listen to where you want to go.

We want you to know our Y family is excited about your potential in any direction you lead us to help you. We want you also to know the importance of listening to your body before jumping into something you’re not quite prepared for. It’s highly recommended to check with the advice of your trusted physician especially if you’ve had health issues prior to coming to the Y for healthy physical activity options.

Once you’ve sought responsible medical recommendations and before you get started, ask yourself some questions.

What activities do I enjoy? Enjoyment is the spice of life especially when it’s something you are able to stick with and continue to see progress and improvement in.

How active do you want to be?  Some ways to move more would look like taking stairs, park away from front doors, take10 minute walks in the morning, lunch time and/or when you get home, play outside, walk when you’re at youth athletic events, dogs love to go on walks, plant and maintain a garden, meet a  friend for a walking conversation, walking meetings, turn on music and dance, wash your car by hand. Any type of activity is better than no activity.

What type of intensity are you looking for? A little explanation is beneficial and eventually can be interchanged to keep your body surprised and excited about the next adventure you will send it on.

Low-to-Moderate Intensity is easily sustained for long periods of time. You’ll want to start slow and easy, gently progressing as your body acclimates to your new activity. Starting low and slow, like 10 minutes three days a week. This will make it easier to come back the next day, help avoid injuries (which we never want to have happen) and provide you the opportunities to increase and add more days to your week once your body gets comfortable. Trust us, doing anything consistently and your body will get comfortable and will ask for more 

Vigorous Intensity would impact your heart rate significantly and in the beginning is only able to be performed approximately 20 minutes before you start to wear out. If you’re using a scale of 1-10 this intensity may bring you up to about 7-9 whereas the low-to-moderate level may keep you between 4-6. 

Keeping an eye on your heart rate is beneficial because as stated before it is important to be working at an intensity that is appropriate for your level. There are many options to get an approximate reading to keep you in your zone. There are electronic reading handles on most cardiovascular equipment, you can also utilize charts in the Y facility, or a simple equation of 220-your age x % of intensity (55-90%). Remember starting low and slow. If technology is the 2020 vision you enjoy you can find a wealth of devices to wear with most offering an on-wrist heart rate monitoring system.

Another component that does a body good is resistance training. There are multiple reasons to incorporate this aspect of wellness into your routine a couple days out of the week; keeps bones strong, increases caloric burn when at rest, makes for a more structurally sound skeletal posture, just to name a few. Using dumbbells, bands, weighted balls and even just body weight can keep variety and workouts intriguing. 

Your health is the door to all other aspects of your life so why not make it a priority. Doing so will take a little bit of practice and always evolving. We recommend scheduling your workouts in your phone calendar or desk calendar. When it’s written down you are more likely to stick to your daily plan. You may have difficulties getting your workout started but we guarantee when you’ve accomplished your daily workout you won’t ever regret it. 

Provide yourself with rewards of progress by putting a chart up at home so others can see how well you’re doing. Accountability partners will give you the gentle nudge you may need to get out the door. By the way, workout partners are a key to exercise regularity. Talk to your significant others in your sphere to join a facility so you can laugh, push, encourage and motivate one another. It’s better to do life together.

The bottom line is there are so many avenues in the fitness world to keep you entertained. Find what works for you, grow, learn and grow again. Make fitness fun! Isn’t that what life should be about?


By Michelle Kiddoo, Program Director-Health and Wellness, Northeast YMCA