Y Notes

Learning the Ropes and other hints at the Y

  • Ronda Graff
  • 17-Jan-2019

As I said last week, this is my favorite time of year at the YMCA because there are so many new faces, as well those we haven’t seen since...well, let’s just say it’s been a while for some people. 

But whether it’s the start of a new year or taking part in the YMCA’s Team Fitness Challenge or just the resolve to lead a healthier lifestyle, trying new activities or trying to get back into the swim of things can be intimidating. So here’s a few reminders on basics around the facility:

Lap swimming has designated blocks of time throughout the day as well as a lap time available at all time except during swim team practices. Trust me, you don’t want to be in the pool during swim team practices but more about that in a bit.

During lap times in the pool, you might think you are supposed to swim between the black lines on the bottom of the pool, using the lines as lane dividers. In fact, lap swimmers are meant to swim “atop” the lines. Six black lines equal six lap lanes.

But what if there are more than six swimmers? For starters, do not stand on the edge of the pool throwing kick boards and floaties at your fellow swimmers, hoping he or she will get out, freeing up a lane. Usually those in the pool notice new swimmers and gladly shift over half a lane to allow more swimmers.

Twelve swimmers can easily do their laps with little interference each other. If you think that’s crowded, come watch the high school or Y youth swim team practices where there 20, 30, or even 40 swimmers in the pool at once. Like I said, you don’t want to be in the pool during swim practice, not because they are doing anything wrong…there are just a lot of them.

Maybe you want to try out the indoor cycling Spin class. Michelle and Tracy are very helpful with new riders but arrive early to adjust your bike: 5 minutes if you know what you are doing, 15 minutes if you haven’t set on a bicycle since you had a banana seat.

Fitness classes are a great way to build camaraderie as you build your fitness. Whether it’s squats with Lori and April, steps with Martha or dance moves with Kelsey and Brettani, they love new people - and regulars too - in their classes.

And don’t be intimidated by all the equipment or trying to keep up with the moves. In class Wednesday, I realized that I can bike 400-plus miles across Nebraska and can swim a couple miles in the ocean, yet I’m not coordinated enough to step on a box and lift my arms in unison. But as Dory in Finding Nemo says, “Just keep swimming, just keep swimming,” or in this case, “Just keep moving, just keep moving.”

It’s always intimidating when trying something new, whether its your first time on the pickle ball court, taking a few swings on the indoor golf simulator or figuring out what each of the machines in the weight room does. (Don’t ask me...it’s a win if I emerge from the weight room without an injury to body or pride.)

But hopefully, these New Year’s resolutions will turn into habits, you become more active and fit, and you will become more comfortable venturing down to the pool or entering a class. After a while, you’ll actually start to feel like something is “off” if you skip a workout. And then maybe, just maybe, it won’t be 10 months between visits.