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Ches's weightloss journey to a healthier lifestyleI needed to take charge of my life.

Eleven years ago, I played college football. I pretty much ate whatever I wanted and trained hard to play ball. After being confined to a hospital bed following an accident, Ches states “I was definitely in the worst physical shape of my life.” This is something I wasn’t used to, I needed to make a change. I looked to the YMCA for a healthier lifestyle.

It was then he decided to begin his journey to a healthier lifestyle. He was no longer going to limit himself because of his size. Through hard work, goal setting, dedication and guidance, Ches has been successful on this journey. For more than a year, he has been a member of the Y and shortly after starting, he had lost 136 pounds.

He believes being motivated is one key to his success. The motivation he needs comes from his faith in God, his family, kind words, and the success of others. His workout plan includes eating six small meals a day and spending 45 minutes a day working out with weights and doing cardio activities. He has access to fitness coaches to help guide him along the way.

Ches follows his motto, “don’t do anything you can’t do every day for the rest of your life.” His overall goal is to be healthy and have an active lifestyle so he can continue to keep up with his daughters. His advice to other people who are trying to lose weight is, “you are capable of far more than you could ever imagine; press on and pursue greatness.” Ches is truly and inspiration.

The Y brings people together every day, providing opportunities to promote healthier decisions that support physical, intellectual and spiritual strength. Track your fitness through our new app, yConnect. Download today!

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Of all the measurements associated with your health, resting heart rate doesn’t get much attention. But research suggests that it should.

How to find out what your resting heart rate is:

  1. Pick a time when you feel relaxed (so not right after a tense meeting) and haven’t had caffeine within an hour or exercised within two hours, because both can leave your heart rate elevated.
  2. Find a pulse point on your neck or wrist, count the beats for 10 seconds and multiply the number of beats by 6.

If you got between 50 and 60 beats per minute, “that’s a very good range,” says Gordon Blackburn, MD, head of cardiac rehabilitation at the Cleveland Clinic. For every 10 beats it goes up, your risk of coronary artery disease rises by 12 percent, stroke by 5 percent and non-cardiovascular disease by 16 percent, according to a meta-analysis in the Canadian Medical Association Journal. Once you’re over 80 beats per minute, the risk of those problems rises pretty dramatically.

Another study in Heart followed 3,000 men for 16 years and found that having a resting heart rate between 81 and 90 doubled subjects’ chances of dying during the study, while a RHR of more than 90 tripled it; maybe not surprisingly, higher RHRs were linked to poor physical fitness, higher weight and blood pressure and more unhealthy fats in the blood.

It’s important to note that these studies show a link between high RHR and health problems, not a direct cause-and-effect relationship, but, says Blackburn, “there’s a consistent correlation.” Think of it this way: A high RHR doesn’t lead to health problems on its own, but it could tip you off that there are some underlying issues going on in your body that you should pay attention to.

Key Factors

Ask your doctor about your RHR; she can walk you through the many factors that affect it. (That’s actually good news, says Blackburn, because if you want to lower your RHR, you can come at it from a few different angles.) Exercise is key, and one study in the Journal of Human Hypertension found that high-intensity aerobic workouts are more effective in lowing heart rate than the same duration of lower-intensity exercise (which may be why elite athletes tends to have very low RHR). Getting stress under control can help, too, as can maintaining a healthy weight and logging seven to eight hours of sleep per night.

Find the whole Huffington Post article here:

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How many people keep New Year’s Resolutions?

Read the full article by Kevin Kruse:

I know you didn’t achieve your New Year’s resolutions in 2016.

I say that confidently, even though we’ve never met, because research shows only 8% of people actually achieve them. So statistically, I bet you didn’t.

How can you become one of those elite few, who actually achieve what they set out to do? Do you need more motivation? A special system? What are the secrets?

To find out, I interviewed one of the leading experts in behavior change, psychologist Paul Marciano. Dr. Marciano is the author of Carrots and Sticks Don’t Work and he specializes in the area of behavior modification and engagement. He offered seven keys to achieving your goals.

1. Make your goals specific. People proclaim, “I’m finally going to get in shape.” But what does that actually mean? Do you intend to reach a certain weight? Or body-fat percentage? Do you want to run three miles without rest? Maybe be able to do 10 pull-ups? Dr. Marciano is a fan of the classic goal system that makes goals specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound (SMART).

2. Measure progress.“If you can measure it, you can change it” is a fundamental principal of psychology. These feedback loops will be a source of motivation as you reflect on where you started and where you are. They will also help you to know when you are hitting a plateau or slipping backward, so you can adjust your efforts.

3. Be patient. Progress is seldom linear. Some people will see rapid gains only to hit resistance later in their efforts. For others, initial progress may be painfully slow but then they suddenly achieve rapid breakthroughs. Making lasting changes takes time.

4. Share your goals with friends and family. Social support is critical. Yes, it takes some personal courage and vulnerability to share something that you might actually fail at, but to dramatically increase your odds of success you’ll want support from those around you. One of the most effective things you can do is to get an “accountability partner”, someone who checks in with you daily or weekly. It’s easy to break a promise to yourself, but far harder to admit it to a friend.

5. Schedule it. Have you ever said you can’t “find the time” to do something. Nobody finds time, we choose time. We all choose to spend our time the way we do—whether that’s eating junk food or going to a spin class. Make your new goals a priority and actually schedule them into your calendar. If you have a fitness goal schedule recurring time blocks for your daily workouts. Want to declutter? Schedule time to clean out your closet or garage on your calendar. Treat these New Year Resolution’s appointments just like they were scheduled doctor appointments. You rarely reschedule your doctor, you should treat this time the same way. That which is scheduled gets done.

6. Something is better than nothing. Are you guilty of “all or nothing” thinking? Do you ever think, “Well, I might as well get dessert since I already ate those French fries?” And then, “I blew my diet last night so I’ll just restart it next week.” Dr. Marciano says the difference between doing something rather than nothing is huge. If you don’t have a full hour to workout at the gym, just decide to make it the best 20-minutes you can. If you stumble out of bed and don’t want to do 20-minutes on the treadmill, lace up your sneakers and do five minutes (and you just might find you do another 15 minutes once the first five are out of the way). Dr. Marciano says, “Any effort towards your goal is better than no effort.”

7. Get up, when you slip up. Legendary coach Vince Lombardi said, “It isn’t whether you get knocked down, it’s whether you get back up.” Resiliency is paramount. Don’t turn temporary failures into total meltdowns or excuses for giving up. Instead, just acknowledge the mistake and recommit to the path towards the goal.

Dr. Marciano says achieving your goals isn’t about willpower. It’s about developing the right skills, executing strategies, and having the patience that inevitably lead to success. Will 2017 be the year you join the elite 8%?

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The holidays can be a joyful time, offering a chance to reconnect with friends and family. But they can also be stressful. You may feel pressure to buy and give gifts. Maybe you are worried about money. The holidays can also be hectic. There never seems to be enough time to get things done.

Think about the kinds of events that trigger stress for you during the holidays. Then you can focus on one or two things you can do that will help the most to reduce stress.

Preparing for the Holidays

Know your spending limit. Lack of money is one of the biggest causes of stress during the holiday season. This year, set a budget, and don’t spend more than you’ve planned. It’s okay to tell your child that a certain toy costs too much. Don’t buy gifts that you’ll spend the rest of the year trying to pay off.

Give something personal. You can show love and caring with any gift that is meaningful and personal. It doesn’t have to cost a lot. Or use words instead of an expensive gift to let people know how important they are to you. Make a phone call or write a note and share your feelings.

Get organized. Make lists or use an appointment book to keep track of tasks to do and events to attend.

Share the tasks. You don’t have to do everything yourself. Share your “to do” list with others. Spend time with friends and family while you share tasks like decorating, wrapping gifts, and preparing the holiday meal.

Learn to say no. It’s okay to say “no” to events that aren’t important to you. This will give you more time to say “yes” to events that you do want to attend.

Be realistic. Try not to put pressure on yourself to create the perfect holiday for your family. Focus instead on the traditions that make holidays special for you. And remember that just because it’s a holiday, family problems don’t go away. If you have a hard time being around your relatives, it’s okay to set limits on your time at events and visits.


Read the full article at:

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Exercise in almost any form can act as a stress reliever. Being active can boost your feel-good endorphins and distract you from daily worries.

By Mayo Clinic Staff

You know that exercise does your body good, but you’re too busy and stressed to fit it into your routine. Hold on a second — there’s good news when it comes to exercise and stress.

Virtually any form of exercise, from aerobics to yoga, can act as a stress reliever. If you’re not an athlete or even if you’re out of shape, you can still make a little exercise go a long way toward stress management. Discover the connection between exercise and stress relief — and why exercise should be part of your stress management plan.

Exercise and stress relief

Exercise increases your overall health and your sense of well-being, which puts more pep in your step every day. But exercise also has some direct stress-busting benefits.

  • It pumps up your endorphins. Physical activity helps bump up the production of your brain’s feel-good neurotransmitters, called endorphins. Although this function is often referred to as a runner’s high, a rousing game of tennis or a nature hike also can contribute to this same feeling.
  • It’s meditation in motion. After a fast-paced game of racquetball or several laps in the pool, you’ll often find that you’ve forgotten the day’s irritations and concentrated only on your body’s movements.

As you begin to regularly shed your daily tensions through movement and physical activity, you may find that this focus on a single task, and the resulting energy and optimism, can help you remain calm and clear in everything you do.

  • It improves your mood. Regular exercise can increase self-confidence, it can relax you, and it can lower the symptoms associated with mild depression and anxiety. Exercise can also improve your sleep, which is often disrupted by stress, depression and anxiety. All of these exercise benefits can ease your stress levels and give you a sense of command over your body and your life.

Put exercise and stress relief to work for you

A successful exercise program begins with a few simple steps.

  • Consult with your doctor. If you haven’t exercised for some time and you have health concerns, you may want to talk to your doctor before starting a new exercise routine.
  • Walk before you run. Build up your fitness level gradually. Excitement about a new program can lead to overdoing it and possibly even injury.

For most healthy adults, the Department of Health and Human Services recommends getting at least 150 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activity (such as brisk walking or swimming) or 75 minutes a week of vigorous aerobic activity (such as running). You also can do a combination of moderate and vigorous activity.

Also, incorporate strength training exercises at least twice a week.

  • Do what you love. Virtually any form of exercise or movement can increase your fitness level while decreasing your stress. The most important thing is to pick an activity that you enjoy. Examples include walking, stair climbing, jogging, bicycling, yoga, tai chi, gardening, weightlifting and swimming.
  • Pencil it in. Although your schedule may necessitate a morning workout one day and an evening activity the next, carving out some time to move every day helps you make your exercise program an ongoing priority.

Stick with it

Starting an exercise program is just the first step. Here are some tips for sticking with a new routine or reinvigorating a tired workout:

  • Set SMART goals. Write down SMART goals — specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-limited goals.

If your primary goal is to reduce stress in your life and recharge your batteries, your specific goals might include committing to walking during your lunch hour three times a week or, if needed, finding a baby sitter to watch your children so that you can slip away to attend a cycling class.

  • Find a friend. Knowing that someone is waiting for you to show up at the gym or the park can be a powerful incentive. Working out with a friend, co-worker or family member often brings a new level of motivation and commitment to your workouts.
  • Change up your routine. If you’ve always been a competitive runner, take a look at other less competitive options that may help with stress reduction, such as Pilates or yoga classes. As an added bonus, these kinder, gentler workouts may enhance your running while also decreasing your stress.
  • Exercise in increments. Even brief bouts of activity offer benefits. For instance, if you can’t fit in one 30-minute walk, try three 10-minute walks instead. Interval training, which entails brief (60 to 90 seconds) bursts of intense activity at almost full effort, is being shown to be a safe, effective and efficient way of gaining many of the benefits of longer duration exercise. What’s most important is making regular physical activity part of your lifestyle.

Whatever you do, don’t think of exercise as just one more thing on your to-do list. Find an activity you enjoy — whether it’s an active tennis match or a meditative meander down to a local park and back — and make it part of your regular routine. Any form of physical activity can help you unwind and become an important part of your approach to easing stress.

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Read through this list of common ways we show stress. You are your best judge, if too many items on this list sound like you, come on in to the Y and tell us. We can help!

  1. Emotional:
    • Becoming easily agitated, frustrated, and moody
    • Feeling overwhelmed, like you are losing control
    • Having difficulty relaxing and quieting your mind
    • Feeling lonely, worthless, or depressed, having low self-esteem
    • Avoiding others
  2. Physical:
    • Low energy
    • Headaches
    • Upset stomach, including diarrhea, constipation and nausea
    • Aches, pains, and tense muscles
    • Chest pain and rapid heartbeat
    • Insomnia
    • Frequent colds and infections
    • Loss of sexual desire and/or ability
    • Nervousness and shaking, ringing in the ear, cold or sweaty hands and feet
    • Dry mouth and difficulty swallowing
    • Clenched jaw and grinding teeth
  3. Cognitive:
    • Constant worrying
    • Racing thoughts
    • Forgetfulness, disorganization, inability to focus
    • Poor judgment
    • Being pessimistic or seeing only the negative side
  4. Behavior:
    • Changes in appetite – either not eating or eating too much
    • Procrastinating and avoiding responsibilities
    • Increased use of alcohol, drugs, or cigarettes
    • Exhibiting more nervous behaviors, such as nail biting and fidgeting

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Are you a stress-eater? Many of us are and it can have catastrophic effects on our weight and health. Certain foods inherently help reduce stress so if you munch on them regularly, you may find that your stress level has been naturally reduced. If you reach for the cupcakes or ice cream when you get stressed, you’ll want to read more!

  1. Rich and creamy avocados are a great source of vitamins and nutrients that have been shown to naturally boost your mood as well as block certain fats. Avocados are even great as a dessert food and better for you than that cupcake or ice cream to satisfy that craving for sweets.
  2. Cashews are high in zinc, which has been shown to lower depression and anxiety. They are high in protein too, helping keep you feeling full longer. It’s easy to grab a handful when you get stressed and snack on them instead. They are perfect to eat by themselves or add to a salad or main dish.
  3. Oranges are a great souce of vitamin C that helps you feel energetic and the sweetness can help fight off sugar cravings. Since oranges are such grab-and-go snacks, they are perfect to reach for whenever stress makes you want something sweet.
  4. Garlic is great for warding off illness and boosting our immune system. Because stress weakens our immunity, eating plenty of garlic in your diet can help keep your immune system strong.
  5. Broccoli is loaded with folic acid which has been directly linked with stress reduction. While it’s not an instant treatment for stress, eating plenty of garlic regularly can help lower your stress level.
  6. Dark chocolate is loaded with antioxidants that help lower stress. Just be sure to make it dark chocolate and don’t overdo it!
  7. Salmon is loaded with omega-3s that help with brain function. Improved brain function can help you deal with stress more effectively.
  8. Water is good for so many things! Drinking a cold glass of water and taking a brisk walk for a few minutes is a great way to get those endorphins going and easy your stress.


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  1. Get your doctor’s OK. Let them know what you want to do. They can make sure you’re ready for it. They’ll also check to see if you need to change your meals, insulin, or diabetes medicines. Your doctor can also let you know if the time of day you exercise matters.
  2. Check your blood sugar. Ask your doctor if you should check it before exercise. If you plan to work out for more than an hour, check your blood sugar levels regularly during your workout, so you’ll know if you need a snack. Check your blood sugar after every workout, so that you can adjust if needed.
  3. Carry carbs. Always keep a small carbohydrate snack, like fruit or a fruit drink, on hand in case your blood sugar gets low.
  4. Ease into it. If you’re not active now, start with 10 minutes of exercise at a time. Gradually work up to 30 minutes a day.
  5. Strength train at least twice a week. It can improve blood sugar control. You can lift weights or work with resistance bands. Or you can do moves like push-ups, lunges, and squats, which use your own body weight.
  6. Make it a habit. Exercise, eat, and take your medicines at the same time each day to prevent low blood sugar, also called hypoglycemia.
  7. Go public. Work out with someone who knows you have diabetes and knows what to do if your blood sugar gets too low. It’s more fun, too. Also wear a medical identification tag, or carry a card that says you have diabetes, just in case.
  8. Be good to your feet. Wear athletic shoes that are in good shape and are the right type for your activity. For instance, don’t jog in tennis shoes, because your foot needs a different type of support when you run. Check and clean your feet daily. Let your doctor know if you notice any new foot problems.
  9. Hydrate. Drink water before, during, and after exercise.
  10. Stop if something suddenly hurts. If your muscles are mildly sore, that’s normal. Sudden pain isn’t. You’re not likely to get injured unless you do too much, too soon.

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To understand diabetes, you need to know what it is, what causes it, the types of diabetes, the effects of having diabetes, who is most at risk of developing diabetes, and that the YMCA can help prevent you from getting diabetes. Read on for the easy to understand answers.

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a disease that occurs when your blood glucose, also called blood sugar, is too high. Blood glucose is your main source of energy and comes from the food you eat. Insulin, a hormone made by the pancreas, helps glucose from food get into your cells to be used for energy. Sometimes your body doesn’t make enough—or any—insulin or doesn’t use insulin well. Glucose then stays in your blood and doesn’t reach your cells.

Over time, having too much glucose in your blood can cause health problems. Although diabetes has no cure, you can take steps to manage your diabetes and stay healthy.

Sometimes people call diabetes “a touch of sugar” or “borderline diabetes.” These terms suggest that someone doesn’t really have diabetes or has a less serious case, but every case of diabetes is serious.

Read the full article with additional information.

What health problems can people with diabetes develop?

Over time, high blood glucose leads to problems such as:

  • heart disease
  • stroke
  • kidney disease
  • eye problems
  • dental disease
  • nerve damage
  • foot problems

What are the different types of diabetes?

The most common types of diabetes are type 1, type 2, and gestational diabetes.

Type 1 diabetes

If you have type 1 diabetes, your body does not make insulin. Your immune system attacks and destroys the cells in your pancreas that make insulin. Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed in children and young adults, although it can appear at any age. People with type 1 diabetes need to take insulin every day to stay alive.

Type 2 diabetes

If you have type 2 diabetes, your body does not make or use insulin well. You can develop type 2 diabetes at any age, even during childhood. However, this type of diabetes occurs most often in middle-aged and older people. Type 2 is the most common type of diabetes.

Gestational diabetes

Gestational diabetes develops in some women when they are pregnant. Most of the time, this type of diabetes goes away after the baby is born. However, if you’ve had gestational diabetes, you have a greater chance of developing type 2 diabetes later in life. Sometimes diabetes diagnosed during pregnancy is actually type 2 diabetes.

Other types of diabetes

Less common types include monogenic diabetes, which is an inherited form of diabetes, and cystic fibrosis-related diabetes.

Who is more likely to develop type 2 diabetes?

You are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes if you are age 45 or older, have a family history of diabetes, or are overweight. Physical inactivity, race, and certain health problems such as high blood pressure also affect your chance of developing type 2 diabetes. You are also more likely to develop type 2 diabetes if you have prediabetes or had gestational diabetes when you were pregnant. Learn more about risk factors for type 2 diabetes.

Healthy activity and exercise are known to reduce the risk of developing type 1 diabetes. The YMCA is a great place to get the healthy activity and also support to keep going. Review our questionnaire to see if you are prediabetic to discover if you could benefit from our Diabetes Prevention Program.

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Your Search for the Perfect Gift Ends Here

Are you feeling the pressure to give the perfect gift this holiday season? Stop stressing. We have the solution: Give a tribute gift to honor someone who values the work we do at The Peninsula Metropolitan YMCA.

A tribute gift will make your loved one feel special because you are celebrating and supporting a cause that’s important in his or her life. It’s also an extremely easy gift to give—no need to visit a crowded shopping mall and no stressing over whether your gift is the right size or if it’ll arrive in time. An added bonus: Tribute gifts are affordable. You choose how much you can spend.

Charitable gifts are a good idea for a variety of situations. Consider the following:

  • Give a gift to The Peninsula Metropolitan YMCA in memory of a loved one. A memorial gift is a meaningful way to include a special person who is no longer here in your holiday celebrations.
  • Tell your friends and family members to donate to The Peninsula Metropolitan YMCA in YOUR honor. You aren’t the only one who has a hard time with holiday shopping!

To learn more about giving a gift that your loved ones will truly appreciate this holiday season, contact Danny Carroll at 757.223.7925 ext 203 or today.

Celebrate the spirit of the season

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Our mission is to put Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind and body for all.