Many people join the YMCA of Greater Boston every day, feeling motivated to become fit and healthier.  If you are one of those people, congratulations on taking the first step!  

Everyone Starts Somewhere

You may have the motivation and willingness to put in the work towards a healthy lifestyle, but may be uncertain about what your next steps should be.  Our beautiful state-of-the-art facilities, numerous health and fitness programs, equipment and 600+ free group exercise class options can feel intimidating to new and returning exercisers. We want to assure you that you are not alone.  Our facilities and programs are filled with people just like you - health seekers.  Every single person you see at the YMCA were once beginners to exercise or may be even starting fresh like you.


We're Here to Help

There's another reason to feel comfortable and confident about beginning your health regiment at the YMCA.  Our healthy living staff are always around our fitness centers to help design the best possible experience for your needs.  We encourage you to be proactive in seeking their help to determine what options at your branch's fitness center best suit the needs of a beginner or returning exerciser.  They are experts in healthy lifestyles and love helping others meet their fitness goals.  You can ask them simple questions in regards to the correct method of using the available fitness equipment or more complex ones such as what your exercise plan should be based on previous injuries you've had.  Don't be shy! 


5 Questions to Ask Yourself

You may think that hopping on that treadmill is the best first step, but actually, doing some thinking, planning and preparing is an even better one.  Behavioral research on healthy lifestyles and fitness shows that people who prepare to make a change before taking action have more success.  This first step ensures that your decision to get healthy and active isn't just a seasonal decision, but one that will become a habit.  Here are 5 questions to ask yourself for a healthier you. 

  1. Reflect. Can you see yourself being healthy and fit?  If not, what might it take for you to see yourself that way?  How do you talk to yourself about your health?
  2. See the Big Picture.  What are your long-term health and exercise goals?
  3. Plan Immediate Steps.  What are your short-term health and exercise goals?
  4. Recognize Potential Barriers.  What kind of events may get in the way of you achieving these goals?  We call these potential barriers.  In order to explore all potential barriers, think about the times when you have been successful (or not) in meeting your goals. Your past attempts at becoming healthier can shed light on how you should approach healthy lifestyles this time around.
  5. Have a Strategy.  Reflecting on your answer to the previous question, what are some strategies to help overcome the barriers?  Who can help you?

Now that you've completed the planning phase, it's time to get into your YMCA branch!  By now, you should have received a tour of the facilities.  If you haven't already done so, make sure you schedule a tour.  Not only will you be able to see the facilities, but you'll learn about what kind of programs take place in each room, getting a feel for all the different options available to you.  We have many class options for high-intensity seekers like bootcamp as well as low-impact exercisers such as water aerobics.  The YMCA has something for everyone.  Now, good luck and we'll see you around! 


Author: Joann Donnelly, MA, CHFS, BCC, Executive Director of Healthy Living and Chronic Disease Programs


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