Lisa Verkamp, Author at YMCA of Southwestern Indiana

Author: Lisa Verkamp

Unplug to Find Connection

The holidays are all about spending quality time with family and friends in your community, but technology and screen time can get in the way. At the Y, members like you – of all ages, backgrounds and walks of life – can set the virtual world aside to make lasting, meaningful connections in real life.
Here are a few ideas for making deeper connections this holiday season:
Try something new

Consider trying a new sport of fitness programs at your Y. A new experience can help you and your family connect with each other, meet new people and stay active!

Volunteer

The Y is a volunteer-led organization that benefits communities with many opportunities to make a difference. Ask the front desk about ways to give back alongside your neighbors.

Make friends

Have you thought about striking up a conversation with someone new in the lobby of your Y or after a great class but weren’t sure how to begin? Chances are,  you’re not alone. Try these conversations starters and you’ll be making connections in no time:

  • What’s your favorite holiday tradition?
  • What was your favorite volunteer experience?
  • Were you a Y kid growing up?

Dunigan Wellness Center Will Be Closed for A Day for Maintenance

The Dunigan Wellness Center will close at 8AM on Oct 24, 2019 and re-open at 5AM on Oct 25, 2019 in order to spruce up, clean, and redesign the Wellness Center.

All other facility hours, programming, group exercise classes, etc will operate as normal. The Dunigan Wellness team appreciates your patience while we work to create a more inviting and user friendly Wellness Center. We look forward to showing you our redesigned space on Friday, October 25th at 5am.

7 Quick Ways to Boost Your Energy

Americans are tired — seriously. Three out of four of us reported feeling tired many days of the week, according to a survey of more than 1,000 people. And while healthy habits — like staying active, eating well, and getting enough sleep — are the most meaningful ways to boost your energy, it is possible to feel perky and refreshed in a matter of minutes. And, no, we don’t mean by reaching for the nearest energy drink.

Giggle at Cats

Seriously. Nodding off at your desk? Take a few minutes to indulge in whatever goofy of-the-moment online meme or video trend you’re currently obsessed with. Cat videos? Go for it. Watermelon dresses? Enjoy.  A 2015 study published in the Journal of Business and Psychology found that the exposure to humor doesn’t just make you feel better, it actually has replenishing and energizing effects. In fact, the study goes so far as to recommend that organizations embrace a work culture of playful moments to keep employee persistence high.

Down a Glass of Water

In addition to benefiting your muscles, joints, and heart health, water is imperative to keep you alert and energized during the day, says Lori Zanini, RD, a nutritionist and certified diabetes educator. “Your fluid intake can benefit your body immediately,” in part because it may help protect against high blood sugar, she says.

And even mild dehydration can leave you dragging. A 2011 study by the University of Connecticut and the University of Arkansas found that dehydration can quickly lead to a decline in mood, an increase in fatigue, and in increase in the perceived difficulty of cognitive tasks. Meaning, not only will you probably check off your list of to-do things at a slower rate, but the task will feel more daunting than it really is. Feeling a little parched when your energy slumps? Drink up!

Smell Peppermint

Here’s a weird one: The aroma of mint, researchers found, may enhance memory, and increase alertness. And other studies have linked peppermint oil to greater physical performance, as well. Put a few drops of essential peppermint oil on a diffuser, then let the energizing aroma do its thing!

Take the Stairs

Feeling sluggish? Start climbing. A study by researchers at the University of Georgia’s College of Education found that office workers who walked up and down stairs at a comfortable, low-intensity pace finished the task feeling energized. In fact, stair climbers felt more recharged than participants who downed 50 milligrams of caffeine, which is about the amount in a standard cup of coffee or soda. So next time you’re feeling sluggish, put your feet to work.

Go Ahead and Sip a Cup of Joe

Speaking of coffee: For most people, there’s no need to feel guilty about getting a quick pick-me-up from a cup of joe. Two separate 2017 studies found that drinkers of coffee — which is full of good stuff like antioxidants — may actually have longer lives than non-drinkers. Just be mindful of the clock when you’re drinking caffeine, says Rania Batayneh, MPH, nutritionist and author of The One One One Diet. “Having coffee in the late afternoon or evening can interfere with your sleep later on.” So this is an energy boost best used in the morning.

Upgrade Your Snack

If you’ve been munching chips all afternoon or are feeling ravenous, your energy slump might be crashing blood sugar, says Zanini. For an energy boost that won’t leave you bottomed up in an hour, reach for a snack that includes fiber and protein, she says. Both digest slowly, which means your blood sugar won’t spike (and then plummet), and they’ll leave you feeling sated for longer.

Hummus and whole-wheat crackers or carrots is Batayneh’s energizing snack of choice, or a piece of fruit and a handful of almonds. If you can sneak in some extra water, more energy to you. “Cucumbers and watermelon are mostly water,” says Zanini, “so they deliver an extra hydration boost as well.”

Embrace Nature

Researchers have found that simply being outside and in nature can boost vitality. The sights and sounds of nature, it seems, have a calming impact on our bodies and minds. (Not to mention, an extra small dose of Vitamin D may be a welcome bonus.)

The benefits of nature can even help your energy levels if you’re stuck in the house or at your desk all day. In 2015, researchers at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute found that playing natural sounds — a flowing stream, for example — in an inside environment can lead to increased productivity.

Source: Rally Health, Kate Rockwood, July 3, 2018

Benefits to Prenatal Yoga

From your physical body to your emotional state, prenatal yoga is a key ingredient to a healthy, happy pregnancy.

By Holly Lebowitz Rossi

 

Prenatal yoga sounds like a healthy practice to adopt during pregnancy – and it is. But what specifically can prenatal yoga do to help you feel great and stay calm during the most important nine months of your life? Read on for seven important ways yoga can make a positive difference in your pregnancy.

Supports Your Changing Body

“Our bodies are always changing,” says Jane Austin, a pre- and postnatal yoga teacher based in San Francisco and the founder of prenatal yoga school Mama Tree. But in pregnancy, the body experiences “an accelerated pace of change,” she says, and needs help adjusting and compensating. “Prenatal yoga practice is designed to support the changes that happen in a pregnant body,” Austin says, by offering women healthy, safe ways to stretch their muscles and strengthen their bodies – their lower bodies in particular – to ease the process of supporting a growing belly.

 

Tones Important Muscle Groups

Prenatal yoga “tones the physical body, especially the pelvic floor, hip, and abdominal core muscles, in preparation for the birthing process,” says Liz Owen, a Boston-based yoga teacher and the co-author of Yoga for a Healthy Lower Back: A Practical Guide to Developing Strength and Relieving Pain. A properly toned muscle has the right balance between length and strength – it is neither too lax nor too tight. Building and maintaining muscle tone during pregnancy, with yoga poses like lunges and gentle backbends, can help minimize the aches and pains of those nine months, and are key in bringing your body back to a toned condition after delivery, Owen says.
 

Prepares for Labor and Delivery

A top priority in Austin’s prenatal yoga classes is teaching women “they can trust that their bodies will open” up to labor and birth. “When we’re afraid, we tighten up,” she says, and that tightening leads to what she calls a “fear-tension-pain cycle.” This can sabotage a woman’s efforts to remain present and calm in labor, especially if she hopes to experience childbirth with minimal or no pain medication. Working to connect with yogic methods of deep, mindful breathing can help the body loosen and relax, and help women get to a “mammalian place,” Austin says, where they can let their bodies do what they instinctively already know how to do: give birth.

Promotes Connection With Your Baby

Even the act of going to a prenatal yoga class once (or more) each week is a gentle reminder to take the time out of a busy work and home life to care for and bond with your growing baby. As your pregnancy progresses, your body’s different responses to yoga poses will be a reminder of other physical changes happening in your body. Certain poses, such as Hero pose, in which you sit back on your heels and then sit up straight to lengthen your spine, can become meaningful if you breathe deeply while in it.

 

Provides Relief From Common Pregnancy Complaints

Prenatal yoga may be the cure for what ails you if you’re suffering from common pregnancy discomforts such as lower back pain, nausea, insomnia, headaches, shortness of breath, and carpal tunnel syndrome. By stretching and toning muscles, you can help blood circulate throughout the body in a healthy way. Also, deep breathing can bring much-needed oxygen to your baby and to your own muscles. A 2012 University of Michigan study showed that mindfulness yoga, which combines physical poses with meditation practices, can bring measurable relief to the depression that can accompany the emotional journey of pregnancy. Of course, not all symptoms are guaranteed to disappear altogether, but the multidimensional approach of yoga to both physical and emotional health can help your body take the uncomfortable aspects of pregnancy in stride.

 

Gives You a Healthier Pregnancy

It’s probably not surprising that research has confirmed a healthy mama is more likely to have a healthy baby. In fact, a 2012 study found that women who regularly practiced yoga during pregnancy were less likely to have preterm labor or to deliver a low-birthweight baby.

 

Encourages You to Make Friends With Like-Minded Mamas

One of the greatest benefits of prenatal yoga may be joining a community with other expectant moms. The Y offers prenatal yoga on Thursdays at the Dunigan Family YMCA. The class is FREE for Y Members and only $70 for non-members. Sharing the pregnancy journey with new friends can help ease your anxiety about impending motherhood while also easing your back pain and calming your body.

 

SIGN UP FOR YMCA PRENATAL YOGA

Source: Parents.com

Tween and Teen Health

Strength training: OK for kids?

Strength training offers kids many benefits, but there are important caveats to keep in mind. Here’s what you need to know about youth strength training. Done properly, strength training offers many benefits to young athletes. Strength training is even a good idea for kids who simply want to look and feel better. In fact, strength training might put your child on a lifetime path to better health and fitness.

Strength training, not weightlifting

Don’t confuse strength training with weightlifting, bodybuilding or powerlifting. These activities are largely driven by competition, with participants vying to lift heavier weights or build bigger muscles than those of other athletes. This can put too much strain on young muscles, tendons and areas of cartilage that haven’t yet turned to bone (growth plates) — especially when proper technique is sacrificed in favor of lifting larger amounts of weight.

For kids, light resistance and controlled movements are best — with a special emphasis on proper technique and safety. Your child can do many strength training exercises with his or her own body weight or inexpensive resistance tubing. Free weights and machine weights are other options.

For kids, what are the benefits of strength training?

Done properly, strength training can:

  • Increase your child’s muscle strength and endurance
  • Help protect your child’s muscles and joints from sports-related injuries
  • Help improve your child’s performance in nearly any sport, from dancing and figure skating to football and soccer
  • Develop proper techniques that your child can continue to use as he or she grows older

Keep in mind that strength training isn’t only for athletes. Even if your child isn’t interested in sports, strength training can:

  • Strengthen your child’s bones
  • Help promote healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels
  • Help your child maintain a healthy weight
  • Improve your child’s confidence and self-esteem

When can a child begin strength training?

During childhood, kids improve their body awareness, control and balance through active play. As early as age 7 or 8, however, strength training can become a valuable part of an overall fitness plan — as long as the child is mature enough to follow directions and practice proper technique and form.

If your child expresses an interest in strength training, remind him or her that strength training is meant to increase muscle strength and endurance. Bulking up is something else entirely — and most safely done after adolescence, when your child has reached physical and skeletal maturity.

You might also check with your child’s doctor for the OK to begin a strength training program, especially if your child has a known or suspected health problem — such as a heart condition, high blood pressure or a seizure disorder.

What’s the best way to start a strength training program for kids?

A child’s strength training program isn’t necessarily a scaled-down version of what an adult would do. Keep these general principles in mind:

  • Seek instruction. Start with a coach or personal trainer who has experience with youth strength training. The coach or trainer can create a safe, effective strength training program based on your child’s age, size, skills and sports interests. Or enroll your child in a strength training class designed for kids.
REGISTER FOR A YOUTH WELLNESS ORIENTATION AT THE Y
  • Warm up and cool down. Encourage your child to begin each strength training session with five to 10 minutes of light aerobic activity, such as walking, jogging in place or jumping rope. This warms the muscles and prepares them for more-vigorous activity. Gentle stretching after each session is a good idea, too.
  • Keep it light. Kids can safely lift adult-size weights, as long as the weight is light enough. In most cases, one or two sets of 12 to 15 repetitions is all it takes. The resistance doesn’t have to come from weights, either. Resistance tubing and body-weight exercises, such as pushups, are other effective options.
  • Stress proper technique. Rather than focusing on the amount of weight your child lifts, stress proper form and technique during each exercise. Your child can gradually increase the resistance or number of repetitions as he or she gets older.
  • Supervise. Adult supervision by someone who knows proper strength training technique is an important part of youth strength training. Don’t let your child go it alone.
  • Rest between workouts. Make sure your child rests at least one full day between exercising each specific muscle group. Two or three strength training sessions a week are plenty.
  • Keep it fun. Help your child vary the routine to prevent boredom.

Results won’t come overnight. Eventually, however, your child will notice a difference in muscle strength and endurance — which might fuel a fitness habit that lasts a lifetime.

 

Source: Mayo Clinic Staff, www.mayoclinic.org, January 26, 2018.

It’s Never Too Late to Achieve a New Goal

Judy Burden feels healthier now at 78 than she did 20 years ago. Judy has been a member of the YMCA for ten years and for the past three years she has worked with a personal trainer three days a week. In that time Judy has lost 115 pounds. This lifestyle change not only boosted her confidence as her clothes size began to shrink but it has also eliminated her knee pain and provides her with the opportunity to babysit for her great granddaughter. She attributes her ability to lift and care for the 35lb toddler to her exercise regimen at the YMCA.

Judy currently trains with Ryan Howe at the Dunigan Family YMCA. Ryan is an Indiana native and traveled the world through professional wrestling, modeling, and music. He’s been an Ohio Valley Wrestling and International Superstar, 2x World Heavyweight Champion, reality TV personality, former WWE “Tough Enough” and final TNA “Gut Check” contestant. He is a Certified Personal Trainer (ACE) with broad experience in strength, endurance, toning, weight loss, and nutrition. “The biggest reward is using the knowledge I’ve gained through these unique life experiences and hard work to help others. There is no comparable feeling to seeing an individual make progress and achieve the success they deserve in the gym, and life.”

If you would like more information about personal training at Dunigan please contact Renee Smith rsmith@ymcaswin.org

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Dunigan Splash Has Been Repaired

The Dunigan Splash Pad has been repaired and is now open during its normal summer hours to members.

Monday-Friday >> 10:15am-7:30pm
Saturday >> 10:15am-4:30pm
Sunday >> 12:15pm-4:30pm

We appreciate your patience and hope to see you splashing around this summer!