Put Yourself on your Checklist

woman making a checklist

Gift of Health

To encourage you to keep healthy habits on the top of your checklist this holiday season, we're offering members the chance to win prizes, including up to six or three months of membership at the Y - depending on when you joined. Learn more about the Gift of Health.

"Everything feels important and almost urgent during the holiday rush. Yet when we stop and reflect, we realize that nothing is more important than our own health." - Jackie Canan, Senior Director of Group Exercise

Prioritize Yourself This Season

In the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, it is easy to let heathy habits slide. While you are busy running errands, shopping and cooking holiday meals, your friends at the Y are here to remind you to make yourself a priority this year because nothing is more important than good health.

Self-Care is not Selfish
When it comes to our own health, we often make compromises and prioritize the needs of others over our own. At a time of year when we are preoccupied doing for others, it is okay to say yes to your own self-care needs. It's more than okay, in fact. It is important to say yes to taking care of our bodies and our minds.

Integrate Fitness into your Schedule
When life is hectic, simplify your fitness routine. Look for opportunities to integrate healthy habits into activities that you are already planning to do.

  • Take your Holiday Shopping Offline
    Consider shopping in person at brick-and-mortar shops to move your body while checking off tasks on your to-do list.
  • Put Health on your Holiday Menu
    When planning your holiday meals, be sure to include fresh, seasonal fruits and veggies like brusselss sprouts, cauliflower, cranberries, pears and more. And, when baking your holiday treats experiment with reducing the amount of added sugar called for in each recipe.
  • Adapt your Exercise Routine
    During this busy season, you may not have a full hour to devote to the gym. Try 20 minutes instead - or use YMCA360 to bring the gym to your living room. Any amount of movement or meditation is better than none at all!


Start Small and Stay Focused
Incorporating new habits can feel intimidating at first. Start small to ease your transition and to increase the likelihood of success in sticking with your new habits.

Below are a few options - and we encourage you to pick just one to start with. Stick with your choice for three-four weeks before adding in a second goal.

  1. Replace One Meal per Week
    Meals cooked at home can be healthier than meals from restaurants because you can control the amount of oil, salt and sugar consumed. And the more you can incorporate fresh ingredients as opposed to ingredients from boxes and cans, the better. 

    Yet cooking can be intimidating if you aren't in the habit of doing so. Don't overwhelm yourself by starting with a goal that is too big and unrealistic. Instead, start small - aiming to "healthify" one meal per week.

    Your first goal could be as simple as replacing boxed oatmeal packets with oatmeal cooked on the stovetop to cut down on added sugar. Add cinnamon and vanilla for flavor - and skip the sugar. Instead, try sweetening with a mashed banana or applesauce.

  2. Attend One Group Exercise Class per Week
    Adding more movement into your week benefits your mental health as much as your physical health. But it can be hard to commit to a new habit - even when you know it's good for you!

    That's why Group Exercise classes are a great option. You won't be alone and will have a supportive group of people to show you the ropes and encourage you along the way. 

    We offer a variety of family-friendly exercise classes, gentle classes and introductory classes that are great for beginners.

    Already in the Group Exercise groove? Add variety to your schedule by trying one of our pop-up fitness classes

  3. Walk with a Friend Once per Week
    Walking is a great way to jumpstart a fitness routine. And you don't need expensive equipment.

    When the weather permits, you can walk around your neighborhood or at a local park. When you need to head indoors, try a nearby shopping mall or check out one of our locations with an indoor track. Of course, the treadmill is always an option, too!

Category: Healthy Living