Hall: Make 2017 your year for health

By Guest Writer Zack Hall, G.I.T. YMCA Executive Director:

Being healthy means more than simply being physically active. It’s about maintaining a balanced spirit, mind, and body.

Living in the Travelers Rest area, we are fortunate to have some of the best parks, trails, walkways and outdoor activities. With easy access, Travelers Rest is a great place to start limiting your sedentary leisure time. The George I. Theisen YMCA is one place where you can work toward that balance by challenging yourself to learn a new skill or hobby, fostering connections with friends through lifelong learning programs, or bringing your loved ones closer together through many family-centered activities.

It’s not about the activity you choose as much as it is about the benefits of living healthier on the inside as well as the outside.

Try to incorporate ways to be more physically active in your everyday life such as taking the stairs or parking the car farther away from your destination. Your body can benefit from things like walking the dog, raking leaves, or playing with the kids. Find ways to socialize while participating in physical activity and with friends and family. Remember that some activity is better than none, and even small amounts bring health benefits. Whether you are currently physical active or have not been active in many years, the importance of a well-rounded exercise program cannot be stressed enough. The benefits of exercise extend far beyond weight management. 

(Related on the Tribune: YMCA waives joining fees in January)
Recent statics shows 43 percent of South Carolinians are obese and battling many health issues. This stat offers an opportunity for improvement. Research shows that regular physical activity can help reduce your risk for several diseases and health conditions and improve your overall quality of life.

Regular physical activity can help self-esteem and stress management. Studies on the psychological effects of exercise have found that regular physical activity can improve your mood and the way you feel about yourself. Researchers have found that exercise is likely to reduce depression and help you to manage stress better.

Daily physical activity can help prevent heart disease and stroke by strengthening your heart muscle, lowering your blood pressure, raising your high-density lipoprotein (HDL) levels (good cholesterol) and lowering low-density lipoprotein (LDL) levels (bad cholesterol), improving blood flow, and increasing your heart's working capacity. At the heart of the YMCA, there is a desire to help those with the greatest need.  The YMCA is part of the solution in reducing chronic diseases and obesity in our community by offering comprehensive multiphase programs for adults and children.  
It is never too late to become physically active.

Our community can lead the way in healthy improvement through a commitment to daily physical activity, adequate rest, healthier eating and becoming socially connected. With all that Travelers Rest has to offer, we are poised to reverse these statistics to make our community healthier.  Participating in a regular physical activity can bring multiple benefits that can affect our everyday activities. Remember, the human body was designed for movement, and by exercising regularly and making healthy food choices, you’ll look and feel better and become a role model and inspiration for those you love.

-- Zack Hall, G.I.T. YMCA Executive Director