It’s hard to believe that the holiday season is just around the corner. With all the merriment and busyness that goes into celebrating, it’s even more important to have a steady focus on keeping your spirit, mind, and body in good health. One of my favorite quotes is “Peace. It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble, or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.” We all know that exercise is good for you physically, but regular exercise can help improve your outlook and help manage your stress.
The American Council on Exercise says that the psychological benefits of exercise are many. Performing different types of exercise or learning a “new to you” routine can change how your brain is wired, thus improving your cognition and mental acuity. If you come to the Y for cycling classes, try TRX or yoga to mix things up a bit. Not only is it good for your muscles to be challenged in a different way, it clearly helps keep you mentally sharp as well. Exercise also can help you sleep more soundly, and when you have a good night’s sleep, you have a better chance to manage stressful situations with less impact to your mental and physical health. E. Joseph Cossman once said that “the best bridge between hope and despair is a good night’s sleep.”
For many of our members, their Y community is really their Y family – where the familiar faces of staff and fellow members help to build their spirit and challenge them to push through to reach their wellness goals. Studies have shown that social support, like what many experience at the Y, can also help lessen depression. The holidays can be a hard time for some people, so I encourage you to connect with your fellow members and start a conversation with someone you haven’t met. You never know what a little kindness might mean to someone who is going through a difficult time.
Challenge yourself to come to the Y more than you might be already, or commit to sticking with your fitness regimen through all the hectic shopping, parties and traveling that the holidays can bring. When January 1st rolls around, you’ll be that much further ahead, happier and healthier, and ready to tackle a new year.
President & CEO
YMCA of Greenville