For the next year, in the lead up to its 170th anniversary, YMCA of Metropolitan Detroit is encouraging everyone to celebrate by committing to the Y 170 Challenge.
“We’re trying to make a fun way of celebrating by getting everyone to engage in healthy movement for 170 minutes each week,” explains Helene Weir, YMCA President and CEO. “That exceeds the recommended number by the CDC, but if we get everyone in metro Detroit to have 170 minutes a week of activity, everyone will be that much healthier.”
You don’t have to run a marathon to be healthy, Weir says, and she encourages every person of every age to just go for a walk every day. “I typically ride an exercise bike every morning, and I have a habit of waking up and getting some exercise in each morning,” she says. “I like to go to the Y gym and work on the machines several times a week. And, on a beautiful day, I’ll also go for a walk.”
Take the Y 170 Challenge
To sweeten the deal — and make it easy to track those minutes — YMCA of Metropolitan Detroit has developed a smartphone app to log your movement. Those who participate will be entered to win prizes, including Y memberships and Y swag. Find and download the app in your Apple or Android app store for free (look for YMCA Detroit) and visit ymcadetroit.org for more details.
But the real benefit to taking part in the Y 170 challenge is preventing chronic diseases, like heart disease and diabetes. And healthy movement can help you shed unwanted pounds, too. The CDC recommends 30 minutes of moderate exercise five times a week, and adding an extra 20 minutes can offer even greater benefit.
“We are asking people to share their stories, whether they walk the dog, come to the Y or park far away from the store or office. How do you 170?” asks Latitia McCree, Senior Vice President of Communications and Marketing for YMCA of Metropolitan Detroit.
You don’t have to be a member of the YMCA to participate, but if you check out all of the group fitness classes and facilities at your local YMCA, you might just be tempted to join.
Make it a habit
Making healthy movement a habit is key to success, says Patrice Harold, M.D., Chief of OB/GYN at Sinai Grace Hospital in Detroit and YMCA Board Member. She loves to visit the Y because everyone is so generous with their compliments, she says. “The staff members always say ‘You are looking great!’ and it’s rewarding to get that encouragement. It’s very helpful,” she says.
Sign up for a Zumba, aerobics or spin class to help build movement into your routine and keep doing it until it becomes a natural part of your day, Dr. Harold suggests. Book some time in your local Y pool or take advantage of their expert fitness trainers.
And get your kids involved, too. “Kids want to be like us, so they follow in our footprints. My kids were not runners, but as a family we did a 5K together every few months,” she says. “Now they are adults and they are running. When they get stressed out, they go for a 30-minute run.”
Keep an eye out for Dr. Harold as she challenges friends to a morning group run downtown, then adds some evening yoga to maintain balance and form — and wind down for a great night of sleep.
Whatever your age or ability, 170 minutes of movement each week is an achievable goal, and your local YMCA is here to help.
Learn more about the YMCA of Metropolitan Detroit and help celebrate the Y’s 170th birthday all year long with the Y 170 Challenge. Visit ymcadetroit.org.