Sometimes, it just takes a little extra incentive to gain motivation to exercise.
For Kristina Cates, that motivation came in the form of an exercise challenge offered at the Don Sjogren Community YMCA and a little encouragement from a YMCA staff member.
Late last summer, YMCA staff member Micki White encouraged Kristina to sign up for the LazyMan Triathlon. The challenge involved walking or jogging 26.2 miles, bicycling 112 miles and swimming 2.4 miles within a six-week time frame.
At first, Kristina resisted saying she didn’t have time. She lives in Holdrege and works full time at a care center in Elwood and doesn’t often get home until 6 p.m.
But, after considering how the challenge could influence her children, she decided to participate.
Kristina and her husband, James, are parents to 8-year-old twins, Wyllough and Wrylleigh, and a one-year-old son, Vykkyn.
Kristina realized the challenge would provide her an opportunity to model an active lifestyle and spend some quality time with her family. Her twins had so much fun joining her in the challenge that they didn’t even realize they were exercising.
Each night, Kristina let her kids chose the evening’s activity, whether it was swimming at the Y, riding bikes around the park or walking or jogging outside or on the YMCA indoor track.
“They weren’t thinking this was exercise,” Kristina said. “Swimming, biking, running and walking. That’s fun stuff to them.”
Kristina discovered she enjoyed these activities as well, and she realized the LazyMan checklist kept her accountable to continue gaining miles and moving.
By the challenge’s deadline, Kristina had completed all the miles. And, when she stepped on the scale, she also noticed she had lost 10 pounds.
Although weight-loss wasn’t her goal, it was a welcome consequence of encouraging her children to live an active lifestyle to stay healthy.
“It was a good feeling knowing that I was being active for my kids and enjoying it,” she said.
Kristina admits that her exercise routine has fallen short now that the challenge is over. But, the YMCA has a few new programs planned for the New Year to help Kristina and other members stay motivated and gain the accountability they need to live a healthy lifestyle:
100-Mile Swim Challenge: Swim 100 miles with prizes awarded for every 25 miles completed. Challenge dates: January 1-May 31.
Lighten Up the Prairie: A three-month weight-loss challenge with weekly personal coaching. Challenge dates: Jan. 15-April 6.
2,018 Minutes Challenge: Exercise 2,018 Minutes between Jan. 2 and April 3. Prizes awarded to all finishers.
Lose It Together Challenge: Receive accountability and motivation with weekly meetings to help participants lose weight and keep it off. Dates: Jan. 8-Feb. 26.
Weight Loss Challenge: Six-week weight loss challenge beginning Jan. 8. The prize is $25 in Swede Bucks.