Winter Workout Challenge

By Jennifer Paton
Staff member and Zumba enthusiast at the YMCA of Edmonton

YMCA Canada is a proud member of the Live Right Now Advisory Board. 

I'm sure I'm not alone in saying that it's a challenge to stay active during the winter months. If we aren't shuttling family members to and from activities, then we are event planners, housekeepers and organizers for the household. When we have down time, we think about getting a workout in, but the lure of the sofa and overall exhaustion from a hard day seems to win out.  

A couple of years ago, one of my neighbours decided that we needed a bit of a competition to kick-start our routines and metabolisms. She saw that we were doing ourselves and our families a disservice by not taking the time to keep active and stay healthy -- especially during our long Canadian winters. 

Our (friendly) neighbourhood competitions are set in short, two-month blocks. The challenge changes slightly each time but usually requires us to exercise a minimum of five times a week for approximately 30 minutes per session. The added twist to the challenge is that we report back to the group every week on how we did. For every day of your five days that you miss, you owe $5 to the kitty. At the end of the challenge, we decide how to share what we've collected (last time, we made a donation to the food bank).

All of the neighbours participating in the challenges say that the extra accountability and the group support keep them active. We now plan our weeks to include workouts. On a day when it's cold out and I just want to hibernate, I have to ask myself if hibernating is worth the $5 I'd have to pay to not exercise. That's usually enough to get me to take a quick trip to the YMCA for a workout. 

Our last challenge required us to do an activity that was considered "outside of the box" for us. I went to Zumba at the YMCA every Friday for two months because it felt as out of the box as I could get. Little did I know that I would love the class! Months have passed and I feel more engaged and healthy. It has become a welcome habit and I look forward to the next challenge. 

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