LIMA — With the new year comes a fresh slate for many people, giving them the opportunity to take on new challenges or create better habits. That spirit can be felt especially at the Lima Family YMCA, where many people have either started new memberships or have returned after an absence, all looking to lead a healthier life.
“We get a lot of new members in January and February, and typically, our membership is higher from January through March,” Lima Family YMCA Vice President Terri Averesch said. “We have some beginner exercisers and some of our regulars who may have quit over the holidays or stopped because their kids were in soccer.”
While many come in with the best of intentions, looking to adopt a healthier lifestyle, some end up losing motivation and quitting.
“The majority of people really don’t like to exercise,” Averesch said. “They do it because it does help them feel better. Only 30 percent of people are going to exercise no matter what.”
Hoping to reverse that trend, Averesch and other veteran members of the YMCA offered some tips and tricks for new beginners.
“Maybe come in with a friend,” Averesch said. “Maybe they need to come first thing in the morning because families can get in the way.”
Kelly Biese, of Lima, has been a member since 2009, and she found that focusing on health rather than weight was the best way to get results.
“People get locked in on a number, and if they don’t reach it, they get discouraged,” she said. “Just focus on doing something good for your health.”
Being in a positive, encouraging environment can help a great deal, as well.
“It’s a great way to meet people who can give you encouragement,” Chris Fifer said. She was enjoying a game of volleyball Saturday with Nancy Croft, Jackie Caprella and trainer Matt Lawrence. For all of them, going to the Y has just become a part of their life.
“You just feel so much better once you do it,” Croft said. “It gets to the point where you feel bad when you don’t come.”
Lawrence cautioned against trying to do too much too fast when starting to exercise, as that can often bring discouragement or even injury.
“Even just start with 20 or 30 minutes,” he said. “Don’t burn yourself out.”
Ultimately, it comes down to making exercise something you can enjoy.
“It helps when you make it fun,” Caprella said. “It’s better than sitting around watching TV all day.”