Join Healthy Living Kick-off WeekTo some people, the YMCA is just another gym. But the organization will soon hold a special week of activities to clear up that common misconception.
By: Regan Carstensen, The Republican Eagle
To some people, the YMCA is just another gym. But the organization will soon hold a special week of activities to clear up that common misconception.
“We are so much more than just a weight machine,” said Martha Harris, the Red Wing Family YMCA’s healthy living director.
Harris hopes to help local residents see that for themselves by welcoming them to the Red Wing Family YMCA as part of Healthy Living Kick-off Week.
From Monday Sept. 10 to Saturday Sept. 15, the Y will offer group fitness classes, demonstrations, workshops and more for the general public.
“They can come in and sign in for the day for free,” Harris said.
Wellness Center staff can answer questions and give tours of the center, while membership staff will be on hand to give tours of the entire YMCA.
Harris said she wants to create an atmosphere of approachability as people find something they’re interested in trying.
Those who want to learn about those traditional weights can visit the weight lifting pit to get comfortable with the area while Y members teach them about how to stay safe while lifting. Visitors curious about group classes will have plenty of opportunities to get involved as everything from Zumba to yoga to tai chi is featured.
The week’s activities aren’t just for people that are new to the Y. Members are encouraged to take part as well, especially in activities they’ve never tried. To help everyone feel more comfortable joining in, classes will be primarily basic, introductory lessons.
“During that week we work hard to really make it accessible,” Harris said.
Ultimately, the week will bring together those with experience and those without as everybody aims to improve their lifestyle.
“We wanted to make sure that people know what all the YMCA has to offer in healthy living,” Harris said. “I don’t know if people in our community realize what’s available to them.”
Here are a few highlights of each day on the tentative schedule for Healthy Living Kick-off Week:
• Monday will feature a boot camp demonstration from 4:30 to 5:15 p.m., followed by a presentation about healthy lunches and snacks starting at 5:30 p.m.
• Tuesday’s classes include yoga basics from 10:30 to 11 a.m. and kettlebells from 5 to 6:30 p.m.
• Wednesday is the main day to take advantage of Zumba, a Latin dance craze. Zumba Fest will run from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. and include dances for both children and adults.
• Thursday will get people into the pool for water boot camp from noon to 12:45 p.m.
• Friday will feature an opportunity to enjoy the outdoors as instructors lead Yoga in the Park.
• Saturday’s activities have fun for the whole family as a family jump rope session is held from 9:15 to 10 a.m.
While a majority of the classes aren’t specifically designated to be family workouts, the overall theme of the week aims to help parents and children develop healthy lifestyles together.
Harris is an avid runner, and has been since age 5.
“The reason why is my dad was a runner,” she explained. “It’s so important that parents show some investment and value in taking care of themselves.”
If they do, their children are much more likely to follow suit, she added.
Conversely, Harris said she knows people who start becoming physically active after they see their children getting involved in sports and other activities.
No matter who is influencing whom, Harris said September is a great time to get started with an exercise regimen. As schools get back into session, families are adjusting to new routines that they’ll stick with for months to come.
“As you’re setting that routine, incorporate things to stay physically healthy,” she advised.
View a complete schedule of Healthy Living Kick-off Week’s activities and print off a guest pass at www.redwingymca.org.