The six-week STRONG challenge at the Don Sjogren Community YMCA proved to be transformational for many of the 200 people who signed up for the program.
The free challenge started February 1 and was designed to help anyone (Y members or not) reset their lives. Each week, a new challenge was issued that required participants to exercise, play, connect, rest, serve and find balance. Participants were challenged to exercise at least 20 minutes a day five days a week.
“We were very excited about the number of people who signed up,” said Holly Johnson, YMCA Healthy Living Coordinator. “I think the response was so positive because people were looking to get their health routines back after taking a break during quarantine. Also, the program was not limited to just YMCA members. Anyone could join the program. Phelps Memorial Health Center donated funds for this program and encouraged their employees to join as well.”
Those who were not members of the YMCA were given weekly day passes to encourage physical activity. Many joined the YMCA as a result of the challenge.
Each week of the challenge, the YMCA awarded two prize bundles with a YMCA tote bag, fleece blanket and tumbler.
Finding a Place to Exercise
Ashlie Adams found out about the challenge through her employer, Phelps Medical Group, where she works as a medical assistant.
Ashlie said she had been seeking a place to start exercising after work, and she was motivated to get back in shape as part of her New Year’s goals for 2021.
“Also, I had already given myself a goal to set goals, and this was the perfect way to get started on that journey,” she said.
Ashlie had never been a YMCA member and was a little intimated at first.
“But, when I called the Y to get more information on the STRONG Challenge and some upcoming classes, the staff overwhelmed me with their kindness and knowledge,” she said. “I immediately felt at ease. My fears of the gym were put more at ease on my first day. I had no knowledge of how to use a particular machine. I buckled down and asked a gentleman how to use it. He was more than happy to show me and correct my position to make sure I did it correctly. From that point forward, I took off with an amazing feeling of confidence.”
Connecting With Members
Ashlie also met longtime YMCA member Jane Mooney.
“She is one motivating lady!” Ashlie said about Jane. “I was nervous about keeping pace with everyone at Zumba. She encouraged me to take it slow and to not beat myself up for not getting the steps right,” she said. “Every time she would see me at the gym, she would ask me how I was doing and always invited me to go to a class with her.”
She also connected with Alex Morrison as an exercise buddy for a week as part of the connection challenge.
“It was so great getting to know her,” Ashlie said. “I really appreciate the community at the YMCA!”
About 50 participants completed the entire challenge by turning in their tacking sheets showing they did 20 minutes of exercise five days a week during the six weeks. They will receive challenge t-shirts.
“We hope participants will keep up the good habits they formed during this program, and we look forward to offering a similar program in the fall,” Holly said.