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Fitness for Living, Fitness for Life -- at the YMCA

Fitness for Living, Fitness for Life -- at the YMCA

By Mcyveton Pierre-Louis

Physical fitness is important throughout your life – at every age and every stage. No one knows this more than the YMCA.

That’s why we have classes and activities at all our branches and program centers to help people get active and stay active even if they’re facing – or especially if they’re facing – health challenges, from Parkinson’s Disease, to arthritis, to cancer.

In recognizing October’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month, let’s talk about just how important fitness is.  

According to the National Cancer Institute, cancer is one of the leading causes of death worldwide, and the number of new cancer cases will rise to 22 million within the next 20 years. Breast cancer is among the most common, with one out of eight women developing breast cancer within her lifetime.

Livestrong at the Y

When people go through cancer, including breast cancer, we find at the Y that physical fitness just helps them feel better. And the increasing number of cancer cases shows there’s an increasing need in our community. This is why we launched LiveStrong, an evidence-based program for cancer survivors.

The program is taught by certified LiveStrong instructors who are trained to address the unique needs of those affected by cancer. Participants meet for two 90-minute classes twice a week. They undergo a physical evaluation and take part in strength and flexibility exercises geared specifically for them and for their level of fitness.

Throughout the 12-week class, they work toward reclaiming their health. And more importantly, they find a welcoming community of people experiencing the same things they are.

Proven impact

LiveStrong at the Y creates a routine where exercise is easier and more fun than working out alone. Participants gain the functional strength that makes everything easier – from moving around the house to going to doctors’ appointments.

Participants report improvements in:

  • Endurance
  • Quality of life
  • Cancer-related fatigue

More than anything, participants get that social connection. The Y lets people know they’re not alone. And without the Y, their cancer experience and recovery could be more isolated and thus more challenging.

Get fit at the Y

LiveStrong at the Y can indeed help cancer survivors pursue fitness and regain their health. And the Y of course is a resource for all people – individuals, families, and seniors – who want to be physically fit, whether it’s to have a healthy lifestyle or to achieve a healthy body weight. This is incredibly important for cancer prevention, as new research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that 40% of diagnosed cancers are obesity-related.

If you haven’t exercised regularly, or you’re having problems sticking with it, keep in mind these tips:

  • Focus on being more active overall. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Park further away. Make a point to stretch throughout the day.
  • Make sure your exercise routine is fun. If you don’t enjoy it, you won’t want to do it. Go for a walk with a friend, take a class, or try a class or a sport at the Y.
  • Prioritize your workout. Whether it’s one day a week or three times a week, put it in your schedule and commit to it. Plan for it and do it just like you would a meeting, an errand, or an event.
  • Be flexible. If you’re too busy in the morning, grab a class at lunch. If you can’t do an hour, aim for 15 minutes. There’s no such thing as too little exercise – every move counts.

The bottom line: Fitness is essential at every age and at every stage of your life. At the Y, you can find instruction and support, no matter who you are or what you’re going through.

For more information about LiveStrong at the Y, contact Monica Thompson.

And to learn more about all the programs, classes, and equipment at the Y, ask any of the health and wellness professionals on staff. We can help you set up a routine that’s fun, effective, and easy to stick with.


About Mcyveton Pierre-Louis

YMCA personal trainer Mcyveton Pierre-Louis is the Member Experience Director at the Littleton Family YMCA. Certified by LiveStrong, NSCA, and YMCA, Mcyveton believes exercise is about a lifestyle change. He loves to help people reach their goals and push to the next level.