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Are you ready for a 2021 that is filled with good things? Do you keep telling yourself that this year will be better than last? Do you want to improve your health and wellbeing?

We’re here to help you set the groundwork for an amazing 2021! From January 18-March 12, we will be sharing tips, tricks and tools to help Reset your health in the coming year. We are going to encourage you to refocus on your goals, reconnect with people at your Y and beyond, and reignite your determination to be healthy and happy in spirit, mind and body. 

Image of the word realign

Welcome to Week 5, RE-ALIGN, and 4 weeks of the challenge is done and 4 weeks to go!

With it being 4 weeks into the challenge and a month into the year we need to make sure we are re-evaluating how we are doing with the goals we have created. A lot could have happened over the past 4 weeks, we might have had some set-backs – this is normal but make sure we learn from any challenges we have faced over the past few weeks and change it from a challenge to a learning lesson for the next 4 weeks, 4 months, or 4 years.

The reason we might have faced set-backs is due to maybe creating a goal that was too big, biting off too much to chew, not celebrating or acknowledging small victories along the way, or maybe not giving yourself enough grace because this is too difficult.  We all know that sticking to a goal is difficult, as the great Tom Hanks once said in “A League of Their Own”,

“It's supposed to be hard. If it wasn't hard, everyone would do it. The hard... is what makes it great.”

So if the past 4 weeks have been difficult, this time of year is always difficult, there is a reason the fitness industry calls it the “Fitness Cliff”. During this week near 80% of gym goers will abandon their “New Year’s Resolution”. So don’t go at it alone! I want to encourage you to reach out to one of our many fitness professionals at your local YMCA branch and RE-ALIGN your goals. They are here to help you make sure the goals you have created are attainable and realistic for you. Even though we may have to admit that our goals we originally set might have been a little too much we can always RE-ALIGN our focus and continue to work towards healthier behaviors!

John W., Charles E. Lakin YMCA & Downtown YMCA Health & Wellness Director



Welcome to week four of our (RE)SET YOUR 2021 movement. This week is all about reengaging in the play of life!

Let's face it. 2020 challenged us in ways that we may have never expected. Many individuals and families have had to cope with constant adaptation to changing circumstances at the drop of a hat. As we refresh our lives in 2021, the importance of play could not be more encouraged!

Kids and adults spent a significant chunk of their day in front of a screen of some sort; be it for learning, work, or leisure and entertainment. The amount of time we spend in front of these devices has only increased significantly since the pandemic hit. We’ve also all felt a new level of stress and have faced many challenges in overcoming that stress in carrying out our day-to-day!

It is important for us to move away from those devices and have some play time with friends and family! It is super easy to come up with games to do around the house, for adults AND kids! 

We have put together this fun little scavenger hunt for you to get started - click the link below to download it! Play time, however, does not start or stop there! Board games, card games or even crafts can bring a sense of joy and play to our lives, while removing our focus from screens.

Try this! Find some tape, a pair of scissors, cardboard boxes, old newspapers, or magazines, crayons or makers and any other miscellaneous item around the house collecting dust. Spend time together with your family and create works of art! City skylines for play time or even masks and put on a family talent show! Let your mind wander and embrace your imagination! Detach yourself from the screen and allow yourself to enjoy the silly and the absurd.

Thank you for your visit here today and taking the time to read this post. Now it is time to power down the display or put down your device and go PLAY!

Michael O., Charles E. Lakin YMCA & Downtown YMCA Group Fitness Manager



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Welcome to week three of our (RE)SET YOUR 2021 movement. This week is all about reconnecting with our community and understanding the importance of and developing a strong support system.

The past year has been challenging in many ways - from quarantines and shut downs to shifts in working/learning and big changes happening in the world around us. These things can provide a lot of stress and without a good healthy support system may leave us feeling depressed and discouraged. Your YMCA family would love to encourage you to get reconnected with anyone you may have lost touch with in these past challenging months. Here are a few ideas to help you out: 

  1. Send a real hand-written letter 
  2. Plan a virtual get together with old friends
  3. Send a care package to someone that could use a little extra love 
  4. Start a group chat/text
  5. Plan an event for when you’re comfortable traveling again

What is a support system? A support system is a group of people or individuals that you can turn to and count on for emotional, mental, and practical support. These are people that you respect and who also provide you with respect and care and honesty when you need it the most. Your typical support system probably consists of close friends and family, but dig a little deeper and you will find a wealth of support among your YMCA community. 

Personal trainers at the Y love connecting to members and sharing knowledge and guidance on fitness, nutrition, goal setting, and anything else you might want to chat about!

In case you are not aware of this - every member is entitled to two free sessions with a personal trainer! These are called are Get Started sessions and they never expire.  These sessions would be a great way to start expanding your YMCA support system and getting reconnected. Group fitness instructors are another way to connect to the Y community and add to your support system. Group fitness instructors are trained to lead fitness classes, but they also love to share their passion for fitness and exercise and would love to help you connect with other members. Please feel free to reach out to these two groups of your Y community at any time for support or guidance.  

Allyssa S., Sarpy YMCA Health & Wellness Director

 (RE)FRESH - Learn more about healthy & fresh ways of eating!

Refresh your Eating Habits in 2021!

How do I know I’m eating healthy? In the pursuit of a healthy diet there may come a time when you question if what you are eating is actually healthy or appropriate for your body. In order to refresh your thinking for a healthy diet in 2021, reset the ideal image of what a healthy diet looks like and incorporate a new image, an image that does not have to be followed by anyone else! Your balanced diet is catered to you and your body only and strengthening your desire to maintain it is key.

You can try to determine your calorie needs, the dietary reference intakes or read every single ingredient label, or you can simply do a quick feel test. After the following events occur in your daily routine, take a note of how you feel.

  1. How do you feel when you wake up in the morning? Tired? Rested? Energized?
  2. How do you feel after you’ve at a balanced meal? Tired? Ate too much? Energized?
  3. How do you feel when you’re moving or incorporating physical exercise? Tired? Energized? Energy (nutrient) deprived?

If you answered all of them with tired, you may want to do two things.

1. Take a quick look at your food intake on a daily basis. How you can do this is by writing a food journal entry. A quick jot of all of the things you eat in a day. (Does not need to have specific measurements) After you’ve journaled your intake, look it over. Where can you refresh healthy snacks or meal prepping? Maybe you noticed you’re not drinking enough water. Food journals can really help you navigate your healthy eating goals by visually seeing where it is can you improve. Give a try for a least one full week!

2. Second, you can note your water intake. A lot of times our brain gets a notification that we are hungry, when in fact we are thirsty. The physiological need for food is called hunger which is when our body actually needs to consume energy while appetite is the psychological desire for food, the stimulation from a smell or trigger of a certain thought.  When you do arrive at the point of ‘I’m hungry’ ask yourself the last time you ate, as well as the last time you had a glass of water. Your body may actually just be thirsty……or it may really be hungry, so eat!

Overall, we can determine how healthy we are by how we feel on daily basis and we can refresh our diet by forgetting what anyone else is pursing and focus on our body’s needs. The key to a healthy lifestyle is the balance between a moderate diet, plentiful sleep and stress-free living. We may not get it perfect every day, but we can keep on a healthy path that will provide optimal living!

Let’s kick the old habits and refresh our new ones for a healthier 2021.

Emmy S., Butler-Gast YMCA & Maple Street YMCA Health & Wellness Director


(RE)FOCUS - It's time to refocus your 2021 health & wellness goals!

We are excited to be helping you Reset your 2021. During the next 8 weeks, we will be looking to Reset our focus on our health and wellbeing. All of us can recognize that 2020 was an interesting year. We witnessed a virus shutdown businesses, separate us from our friends and family, and alter our daily lives. The impact COVID-19 has had on all of us is immeasurable, but we are hopeful that you will be excited to step forward into 2021 with a focus on your health and wellbeing.

Take a second to reflect on your day to day health—are you able to move the way you like, does your energy level support your required activities? Now what if you Refocus on the behaviors that support the way you like to move, that give you energy—are you eating healthy foods, are you sleeping more than 6 hours a night, are you getting 30 minutes of physical activity most days of the week? This week set one SMART Goal that will help you refocus on your health and wellbeing…Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely. Write that goal down, share it with your friends and family, look at it EVERYDAY! Click on our link to download a helpful SMART Goal Toolkit.

While many Americans make a New Year’s resolution, a study finds that around 80% of people abandon this goal by February. To help more individuals reach those goals, we encourage you to refocus on what matters most and set goals that are realistic and supportive of your long-term goal.  Spend some time asking yourself ‘why do I want to achieve this goal?’ Answering that question will help you stick to your goal.

Control your focus, control you success, control your 2021.

If Goal Setting seems like a huge task feel free to reach out to any of our friendly Wellness Coaches at any of our 10 metro area locations!

John W., Charles E. Lakin YMCA & Maple Street YMCA Health & Wellness Director