Go Dashing All the Weigh Through the Holidays
By Abigail Weaver
You might have heard the term “small starts” in our community, encouraging the notion that a healthy lifestyle often sticks when it starts with incorporating small changes over a period of time. This approach tends to be less overwhelming than attempting major changes, which can be frustrating and often lead to burnout. With the holidays right around the corner, most are also familiar with the potential detours to healthy efforts which arise in this season. There are varying opinions on holiday weight gain, but studies have suggested even a gain of 2 pounds during the holidays can have adverse effects if you don’t lose it and continue to do the same every year. In 10 years, you will have gained 20 pounds even if you maintained your weight the rest of the calendar year!
For several years, the Kingsport YMCA has issued a challenge called Dashing All the Weigh. A six week, activity based challenge, the goal is to achieve at least 150 minutes per week of physical activity, with the choice to maintain or lose weight during this tough time to stay on track—from Thanksgiving through New Year’s. While recording your weight before/after with us is optional, this is a more fun way to view maintaining your weight while you incorporate new ways to reach 150 minutes of weekly physical activity each week during the challenge. There are weekly bonuses as well, which can help achieve your prize points.
Being physically active is so important for improving your health and reducing your risk for diabetes and heart disease. The American Heart Association recommends at least 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise or 75 minutes per week of vigorous exercise (or a combination of moderate and vigorous activity) to improve overall cardiovascular health. Even dividing your time into two or three segments of 10 to 15 minutes per day will prove to be beneficial.
The Y wants to help you set your sights on the goal of finding YOUR 150. The key to success is trying different activities until you find something you enjoy and that works with your schedule. Whether you’re walking to work, going for a swim, taking an exercise class, riding a bike, or hiking with family, 150 minutes of activity can be fun, safe and easy. If you challenge yourself for 6 weeks, you may be surprised at the habits you develop and how much better you might feel.
Prizes will be awarded to participants based on points earned during the challenge, including long sleeved tshirts, YMCA camping mugs, and YMCA totes. Of course, the ultimate reward is to make it through the gauntlet of holiday parties and functions with a healthier outlook and new habits!
Another great part about Dashing All the Weigh is that you don’t have to be a member to participate. An individual can pay a fee of $50 for the 6 week challenge and have access to the YMCA facility during that time. Can you imagine taking the steps to developing healthy habits during the holidays? It could really put you on the right track BEFORE the New Year’s Resolutions begin.
The YMCA sees incredible value in supporting you and helping you through the holidays. Consider committing this year to making small changes towards the end of a healthier (and longer) life. We would love for you to participate, so plan on registering today!