Five Ways to Focus on Fitness and Have Fun!

A man sitting on a yoga mat queues up a virtual yoga class on his tablet.

There are a multitude of benefits to regular exercise and physical activity. A regular fitness routine can help you maintain a healthy weight, reduce risk factors for heart diseases or diabetes, improve your mental health and mood and so much more. 

The problem is that often, people who are aware of the benefits of fitness simply struggle with developing a routine and incorporating fitness into their life in a meaningful way.

We’ve broken down some of the latest trends in health and wellness into five ways you can focus on fitness this fall at the YMCA. 

Hybrid Workouts
During the Pandemic, routines were broken and typical gym-goers were left to explore outdoor workouts, assemble home gyms or find online programs. These new habits provided some positives – markedly the convenience of working out at home – allowing greater flexibility to exercise while kids are sleeping, during a lunch break or at non-traditional hours. 

Now, as traffic in gyms continues to increase, not everyone is ready to break from their online options. 

With this in mind, hybrid offers the benefit and equipment of a traditional gym while adding the comfort and flexibility of virtual or online classes. 

At the YMCA, members automatically receive full access to Y360, which offers hundreds of comprehensive virtual fitness and wellness classes live and on demand. (Not a member of the Y, join today!)

Technology & Gamification
We live in a connected world. Since fitness wearables first entered the market in 2009, they have exploded in popularity with everything from the ubiquitous Apple Watch to Garmin’s new Oura Smart Rings and even Owlet wearable devices for infants. 

As we lean more on technology and seek a connected experience, fitness equipment is following suit – providing an integrated experience but also leveraging the “fun” that comes with apps, personalized experiences and gamification. 

At the YMCA, new Peloton bikes utilize all-star instructors while providing an app and exercise data, EGYM uses a game-like interface while offering personalized settings and automated adjustments for machines and Y360 brings some of the best instructors across the nation to local studios and a variety of home streaming platforms. 

A Focus on Wellness
While fitness is more directly linked to physical health and the ability to complete physical tasks, wellness refers to the larger umbrella of health-related elements. This typically includes six – sometimes seven – dimensions: intellectual & emotional, physical, occupational, environmental, spiritual, social and financial.

Programs focusing on ‘whole person’ health explore the interconnections between these dimensions and how they collectively contribute to the idea of good health. 

With a core focus on healthy living, the YMCA understands that the foundations of a healthy life are different for each individual and as such, a variety of accessible programming is necessary to help each person accomplish their goals and better holistic health.

The YMCA is currently enrolling for a variety of mindfulness, wellness, exercise and health offerings. View a complete list on our website or contact our wellness team for more information on how to get started. Personal trainers and mindfulness coaching is available as well as financial assistance for programming. 

Fitness for All Ages and Abilities
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that fitness or being fit, is limited to a specific body type, style, age or ability. Fitness is for everyone and the YMCA, as a leading nonprofit dedicated to strengthening the community, we strive to provide classes, offerings and programs for all ages and abilities and to ensure that everyone is comfortable.

This fall – and throughout the year – the YMCA offers a variety of programs targeted to all ages and abilities. 

A Focus on Strength
Strength – specifically free weights and functional fitness - might be this year’s biggest trend. Building strength, flexibility and balance are the foundations of a functional fitness program, setting people up for success in their daily routines by practicing and replicating movements necessary in the natural world.

For a long time and for many, fitness was a pathway to a leaner physique - but a quick scroll on Tik Tok or look at headlines of popular magazines shows that the trend has shifted towards strong bodies. The data backs this up. Since 2022, gyms have seen a 366% increase in free weight usage and an associated 51% drop in cardio usage. 

The trends follow true at the YMCA of Greater Brandywine, which participated in a fitness study which tracked equipment usage and surveyed active members. Data from this study will inform upcoming equipment purchases and changes to wellness facilities. 

While the trends and technology may change, the core factors remain the same – however you choose to exercise your body or mind – doing so regularly has a significant positive impact on your health. 

Get started today by browsing the many health and fitness offerings at the YMCA, stay tuned for continued improvements to our facilities, and if you're new to the Y, try us for free today!