At the WNC YMCA, Keeping in Shape in 2018

Jan 23, 2018

It’s a new year, and for many people, that means new fitness goals.  BPR’s Jeremy Loeb checked in at the local YMCA to see how things were going.

Maybe your New Year’s resolution this year was to get in better shape.  If so, you’re not alone.  A visit to the downtown Asheville YMCA any given day, you’ll find hundreds of people doing their best to shed those holiday pounds or just generally get in a better routine.  For some that means swimming laps.  And swimmers are finding those lanes more crowded.  Sam McIntyre is a lifeguard there.

“There’s always an influx of people.  I’ve worked at a couple other pools and the first two, three months of the pool are always packed.”

After that, McIntyre says the numbers drop off.  Most research shows the vast majority of New Year’s resolutions fail by February.  McIntyre thinks the way to stave that off is to just find something you love doing.

“And do it for you, you know?  No external motivation.  Because if you’re going to do it for you, you know, you’re going to keep doing it.  But if you’re doing it for something, when that goes away, you’re going to be like ‘Eh, never mind.’  So just find something that you love to do.”

John Tilley has been swimming all his life, and tries to go twice a week.

“It’s the only way I can keep in shape because I tore my knee up when I used to play basketball.”

Where some people may have trouble motivating themselves, Tilley has been able to stick to his routine, even on those days when he’s not feeling it.

“I just tell myself I always feel better after a workout.”

Lap swimming isn’t the only way to get in shape in the pool.  Joanna Rinehart is a water aerobics teacher with over 20 years of experience.  She says water aerobics is great, especially for those ages 55 and older. 

“It works all the joints.  It works the cardiovascular system and it also works strength and flexibility.  It ain’t grandma’s workout.”

And Rinehart saw the same influx of people in the new year as they do in the lap pool.

“Heavens, yes, I have.  We usually see an increase in numbers in January, and I have seen an increase in the six classes I teach.”

As for the effectiveness of water aerobics, look no further than Rinehart herself for inspiration.

“I’ve worked for the Y for 25 years.  I came in at over 250 lbs.  Out of shape.  And the people were accepting and encouraging and they changed my life.”

Back on dry land, Ashleigh Gurtler is teaching a pilates class.  Gurtler teaches at the Y and Asheville Pilates and Training Partners Inc.  She keeps people engaged by keeping things light and fun. 

“It should be challenging, but it shouldn’t be intimidating.  And I want it to feel fun so it’s something you want to keep doing and keep trying.  Because a lot of the harder things, if you can’t do them, so what?”

For many people, the hardest part about getting in better shape is just getting started.

“Once you get in and you start moving and you start noticing changes, you’re more likely to stick with it.”

Gurtler says once you’re into it, keeping your focus on the right goal is key. 

“Instead of maybe focusing on, perhaps an aesthetics thing, like how you want to look, think more about how you want to feel.  So when we start to notice how good we feel when we exercise and we start to find it in our everyday lives, that helps us stick with it, because we want to keep feeling good.”

Whether it’s at the Y or another gym, the many hiking trails in the beautiful mountains, and all the other outdoor activities, there’s certainly no shortage of options for getting and staying in shape here in western North Carolina – now and for the rest of 2018.  

Note: BPR receives support from the YMCA of Western North Carolina.