By Barb Cronin, YMCA of Greater Brandywine
Many of us have hopes and dreams for the year ahead. Lists range from losing weight and eating better to traveling more to getting more involved in our communities. Most of us want to be healthy. But living a healthy life means more than just losing weight or exercising more. Achieving balance in life is essential if you want to live in optimal health and wellness.
The hectic pace of daily life and the challenges it brings often make reaching these goals easier said than done. You need support to make your goals reality, and when it comes to being healthy, that means considering the body, mind and soul.
The body needs exercise, good nutrition, low stress levels and adequate rest to function at its best. Finding an exercise program that works for you can be difficult. Family responsibilities and time constraints are hard enough. Being unfamiliar with gym equipment, exercise options or, for many, just knowing where to begin, can be even bigger hurdles. The YMCA of Greater Brandywine can help you overcome those challenges.
The Y is committed to helping people like you find that critical balance to achieve wellness. Y coaches help members find exercise programs that work and provide support and encouragement every step of their journey.
There is a large variety of group exercise classes to choose from and many are family-friendly so you can even exercise side-by-side with your child. If you want to go it alone and get a break from the kids, there is Child Watch – a free babysitting service – at all Y branches. You can also find helpful tips at many Healthy Living Seminars and Wellness Checkups. When you join in 2016, the Y is waiving the joiner fee to make it easier for you to make a commitment to your health.
In our quest for a balanced life, we need to consider the importance of nurturing more than just our physical bodies. Community service plays a vital role in not only relieving depression but also reducing stress-related hormones. According to a study from Harvard Business School, individuals who gave more, time or money reported being happier than those who gave less or did not give at all. This holds true across all income levels.
Y membership offers the unique opportunity to do more than just exercise. As a non-profit community organization, members have access to many volunteer choices. Helping others warms the soul. When we come together in service of our local community, everyone wins.
This time of year offers a wealth of opportunities with the Martin Luther King Day of Service on January 19. Dr. King urged people to make community service a part of their daily lives, to create “a beloved community.” He said that everybody can be great, because anybody can serve.
Choose to be great. Take part in an organized event with a local community group or do something on your own. No act of giving is too small. If you are unsure of how to get started, join a community organization’s service project on January 19. The YMCA of Greater Brandywine’s branches are holding community service events on this nationally recognized day of service. And there are always opportunities available to volunteer at the Y, even beyond King Day. Stop by your local branch to see how you and your family can get involved or visit www.ymcagbw.org/mlk-service.