Tag Archives: adults

LINC Builds Peaceful Communities

Peace TreeEvery November, YMCA LINC classes observe Peace Week. This is an opportunity to explore and celebrate peace in our communities, both on a local and a global scale. With students from nearly 40 different countries, the LINC program offers unique and creative perspectives on the meaning of peace and the power of the individual to create positive change for tomorrow.

Last week, South LINC students and teachers held a special event with the theme of “Building Community, Acting for Peace”. The students explored this theme by participating in a variety of creative activities, such as making origami peace doves and learning how to find inner peace in a meditation workshop. Students also practiced using peaceful vocabulary words, explored how both positive and negative words can affect others, and learned about other cultures through a musical activity. The grand finale, a peaceful flash mob set to John Lennon’s “Imagine”, surprised the passers-by in the Shawnessy YMCA lobby. After the flash mob dispersed, a “Peace Tower” remained in the lobby as a lovely reminder of the day’s events.

Pe

Meanwhile, the North LINC students and teachers were hard at work sorting donations at their event, which focused on giving back to the community. Three classrooms were set up to collect and sort items for the Calgary Food Bank, the Women in Need Society, and other local organizations. The students did an excellent job preparing for this by researching what items were needed, and then making signs and posters to explain what to bring to donate (healthy non-perishables), and what to leave at home (sugary snacks and perishable items). Throughout the evening, students wrote message of peace on the “Peace Giving Tree”, and worked together to organize and sort the donations. By the end of the evening, there were three very neatly organized classrooms, completely full of gently used winter clothing, children’s toys, items for newborn babies, and non-perishable donations for the food bank.

It is truly amazing to see how focusing on acts of peace in our community can have such an immediate impact.

Great job, everyone!

Clothing Donations

Food Bank Donations

 


YMCA Community Wellness Day

The next YMCA Community Wellness Day is November 21!

Every YMCA Location will have free public access on this day. Come for a swim, shoot some hoops or use our cardio and strength areas.

All Sport One City

YMCA locations will also be participating in All Sport One City, a Sport Calgary and City of Calgary initiative to promote getting active! Check out the schedules for more information on programming and events.

 

Community Wellness Day Poster NOV 21

 


Get Ready for Winter with Exciting Programs

yoga_000021075850 Zumba Toddlers Playing

This Winter, make sure to reserve spots in our wide variety of Programs and Winter Break Day Camps!

You can always rely on YMCA Calgary programs to help promote healthy lifestyles and build spirit, mind and body for children, youth, adults and families.

Our Winter Programs will be available online by the end of the week!

Keep your eye out on the website, Facebook and Twitter.

Registration for Winter Programs begins:

  • November 23 for YMCA members
  • December 7 for the general public

Winter Day Camps – Need something for your child to do during Winter break? Winter Day Camp registration has begun! Sign-up your child for a week of fun at your YMCA location.

 


LINC Reflections

anne_frank_encouragement_quote1At the end of September, the YMCA Calgary LINC program wrapped up another busy semester. With this in mind, many teachers asked their students to reflect on what they had learned over the last few months. One class used this Anne Frank quote as inspiration for their writing, and the results were fantastic!

“YMCA is a source of knowledge, information, and a mentor for newcomers. I can say it is like a tool which carved a stone and turned it into a beautiful sculpture. It brings out your skills, which even you are not aware that you have it in you. In short, they bring out the best out of you, which helps you to accomplish your goals.” – Adarsh, India

“The main theme of this quote is to provide a positive outlook towards the future. As all the LINC students are near the final week of the semester, reading this quote really refresh and rejuvenate their mind. For me, it improves my self-confidence in future endeavors such as job search, family life, social life, and so on. It also enables me to face challenges in life with courage.” – Rajeesh, India

Great job everyone, and good luck in the next semester!!


Fitness Kickboxing is a great way to build strength & confidence while relieving stress.

I attended the Fitness Kickboxing demo class here at Saddletowne a little while ago and I found the class to be invigorating and fun. After the warm up, the instructor taught us a variety of punching techniques and combinations which we then got to practice with a partner using gloves and pads. Afterwards she led us through some kicking techniques and combinations which we practiced again. By the end of the class we put it all together in punching and kicking combinations with our partners.

I worked up a good sweat in the class and definitely felt my muscles the next day. The exercises especially helped to challenge my core strength and coordination as well as my mental focus and reflexes. I loved being able to engage in a contact sport with another person, express some playful aggression and let off  steam in a way that was safe, fun and empowering.

I definitely recommend Fitness Kickboxing as a different kind of fitness class that will produce great results, increase your confidence and challenge you in new ways.

Fitness Kickboxing is offered at the Saddletowne YMCA on Sundays from 6:30-7:30pm beginning January 11th. To register call 403-237-2393 and quote barcode # 96569.

 


What Can Someone Expect in a Private Swimming Lesson?

Andrew D

 

Thanks for joining me Andrew Daw, the Aquatics Supervisor at the Saddletowne YMCA!

What’s the difference between a private swimming lesson and a regular swim class?

The main difference is that we are able to really get to know the individual and it allows us to work one-on- one with them.  We can quickly identify their strengths are and opportunities for improvement. The good thing about a private lessons is that the student is the boss- people can decide what they would most likely focus on and the instructor will be able to follow through with it on a lesson-by-lesson basis.

 

What can someone expect in a private swim lesson?

Someone can expect a knowledgeable instructor who is able to identify the needs of the individual. Regardless of someone’s swimming ability, people can expect to grow as a swimmer.  People can expect not only instruction for while they are in the class, but we coach our swimmers individually to practice skills outside of the class.  For example, I will always leave people at the end of their lesson with something to work on before their next lesson.   We see more improvement when people are able to practice outside of the lesson as well.

 

Who would you suggest sign up for a private swim lesson?

There are a few different types of swimmer that could use private swim lessons. First are those who are uncomfortable around water, and feel like they need someone right next to them as they learn to swim. In this type of a lesson we would go over breathing techniques, horizontal body position and kicking technique. These are essential components in developing one’s swimming ability.

Those looking to improve technique, such as people who want to use swimming as a fitness routine, should also sign up. If people aren’t using proper technique they will not get the most of their swim and will not get all the cardiovascular benefits of a good swim.

Children and youth who are uncomfortable in a formal swim lesson will also thrive in private swim lessons. This may be because they are shy or need that extra one-on-one attention. We have had great success building the confidence of children up to the point where they will feel more comfortable in a group lesson with their friends.

I’ve seen children as old as 14 who have done exceptionally well in a private lesson. In a group lesson they may have been placed with younger children due to their swimming experience; in a private swim lesson we can reach their full potential before they move into a regular class with their peers.

 

How can people register- who should they contact?

People can contact me at 403-537-2726 to book a private swim lesson at the Saddletowne YMCA. You can also e-mail me at Andrew.daw@calgary.ymca.ca.

 

What would be the best Aquatics-themed costume choice for Halloween?  

Hmm. Ariel [the Little Mermaid -Steve] is always a popular choice.

 

What would you dress up as if you had to teach a private swim lesson in costume?

I’d probably dress up as Spider Man because I always tell my students when they are doing their back glides that they have to stand on the wall like Spiderman.

 

Thanks Andrew!

 


Are you getting enough ‘sunshine’?

Believe it or not, Canadians have some of the lowest Vitamin D levels in the world with only 10% achieving the optimal level [9]. Commonly known as the sunshine vitamin, Vitamin D is primarily absorbed through the skin. However at our elevation and longitude here in Calgary, the amount of time needed to spend with our skin exposed to the sun is far greater than most other places around the globe.

Not really a vitamin
Vitamin D isn’t technically a vitamin either. Vitamins are nutrients essential for sustaining life that are acquired through ingestion as they cannot be produced by the human body. As vitamin D can be absorbed through the skin then converts into a hormone (ultimately Calcitriol when combined with 7-dehydrocholesterol and processed through the liver and kidneys) for use in the body then it is not a vitamin by definition but more of a hormone precursor. Either way, the end product is a wonderful substance that is primarily responsible for enhancing intestinal absorption of calcium and phosphate which leads to stronger bones and teeth. It has also been linked to an increasing list of chronic health problems such as bowel and colonic cancer, arthritis, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

What are the best sources?
Despite our geographical disadvantage, exposing your skin to the sun is still the most effective means of acquiring vitamin D (specifically, vitamin D3), especially during the noon hours when the UV index is at its peak. Because this is unfortunately impractical for a number of us, we must resort to foods and supplements to complete our recommended daily allowance (RDA). Egg yolks and fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, sardines and tuna are the only foods that naturally contain vitamin D (specifically, vitamin D2), all other common sources such as cow’s milk, infant formula and other beverages have vitamin D added (D2/D3). Even though these are reasonably good sources, it is likely that you will need to supplement with vitamin D which is easily done through pills, gels or liquids.

How much do I need?
The most accurate measure of vitamin D in your body is through blood work where the recommended volume of 25(OH)D is 100-150nmol/L [9]. This can typically be achieved by consuming between 1500-2000 IU per day (adult). Check the nutrition table on your vitamin D-fortified foods to calculate your intake or use an app such as www.dminder.info .

How Much is Too Much?
Upper limits (UL) for vitamin D vary quite a lot amongst the various institutions (between 4,000 and 10,000 IU) however the most consistent UL rest at around 1000 IU for infants, 2500 IU for children and 4000 IU for adults, including pregnant and lactating women [5].

Vitamin D and Testosterone
A widely-cited study conducted by a team from the Department of Internal Medicine at the Medical University of Graz, Austria (coincidentally the birthplace of Arnold Schwarzenegger), identified a significant increase in the amount of total, bioactive and free testosterone in a group of male subjects dosed with 3,332 IU of vitamin D per day for 1 year versus a placebo group which experienced no change [7]. Testosterone is vital for many daily functions in males and significant in supporting resistance and athletic training as well as sexual health.

Those most at risk of being deficient
The benefits of adequate vitamin D intake and the potential risks of being deficient extend beyond bone and dental health so it is important to know if you are at risk. A receptor recently identified in most tissue and cells in the human body adds credence to the argument for Calcitriol affecting a wide range of genetic and muscular functions. Those most at risk of complications arising from inadequate consumption are infants exclusively breastfeeding (breast milk is naturally low in vitamin D), adults over 50 (the skin becomes less adept at absorbing vitamin D from the sun), those with skin darkly pigmented with melanin (the skin is less able to create vitamin D from sun exposure), and those with medical conditions that affect the cells and organs e.g. Crohn’s, cystic fibrosis and celiac disease.

Too manageable to overlook
Although the upper and lower limits vary, the common thread is that we are almost universally deficient in our consumption of a vital nutrient that is very easy to address. A quick search of online pharmacies yields prices as low as $5 for a 3 month supply (2000 IU/day). With this level of accessibility and a low propensity for negative side effects, supplementing your diet with adequate levels of vitamin D makes too much sense to ignore. Get your sunshine today!

Geoff Starling
Strength & Conditioning Director
YMCA Eau Claire
gstarlin@calgary.ymca.ca


Are you getting enough ‘sunshine’?

Believe it or not, Canadians have some of the lowest Vitamin D levels in the world with only 10% achieving the optimal level [9]. Commonly known as the sunshine vitamin, Vitamin D is primarily absorbed through the skin. However at our elevation and longitude here in Calgary, the amount of time needed to spend with our skin exposed to the sun is far greater than most other places around the globe.

Not really a vitamin
Vitamin D isn’t technically a vitamin either. Vitamins are nutrients essential for sustaining life that are acquired through ingestion as they cannot be produced by the human body. As vitamin D can be absorbed through the skin then converts into a hormone (ultimately Calcitriol when combined with 7-dehydrocholesterol and processed through the liver and kidneys) for use in the body then it is not a vitamin by definition but more of a hormone precursor. Either way, the end product is a wonderful substance that is primarily responsible for enhancing intestinal absorption of calcium and phosphate which leads to stronger bones and teeth. It has also been linked to an increasing list of chronic health problems such as bowel and colonic cancer, arthritis, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

What are the best sources?
Despite our geographical disadvantage, exposing your skin to the sun is still the most effective means of acquiring vitamin D (specifically, vitamin D3), especially during the noon hours when the UV index is at its peak. Because this is unfortunately impractical for a number of us, we must resort to foods and supplements to complete our recommended daily allowance (RDA). Egg yolks and fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, sardines and tuna are the only foods that naturally contain vitamin D (specifically, vitamin D2), all other common sources such as cow’s milk, infant formula and other beverages have vitamin D added (D2/D3). Even though these are reasonably good sources, it is likely that you will need to supplement with vitamin D which is easily done through pills, gels or liquids.

How much do I need?
The most accurate measure of vitamin D in your body is through blood work where the recommended volume of 25(OH)D is 100-150nmol/L [9]. This can typically be achieved by consuming between 1500-2000 IU per day (adult). Check the nutrition table on your vitamin D-fortified foods to calculate your intake or use an app such as www.dminder.info .

How Much is Too Much?
Upper limits (UL) for vitamin D vary quite a lot amongst the various institutions (between 4,000 and 10,000 IU) however the most consistent UL rest at around 1000 IU for infants, 2500 IU for children and 4000 IU for adults, including pregnant and lactating women [5].

Vitamin D and Testosterone
A widely-cited study conducted by a team from the Department of Internal Medicine at the Medical University of Graz, Austria (coincidentally the birthplace of Arnold Schwarzenegger), identified a significant increase in the amount of total, bioactive and free testosterone in a group of male subjects dosed with 3,332 IU of vitamin D per day for 1 year versus a placebo group which experienced no change [7]. Testosterone is vital for many daily functions in males and significant in supporting resistance and athletic training as well as sexual health.

Those most at risk of being deficient
The benefits of adequate vitamin D intake and the potential risks of being deficient extend beyond bone and dental health so it is important to know if you are at risk. A receptor recently identified in most tissue and cells in the human body adds credence to the argument for Calcitriol affecting a wide range of genetic and muscular functions. Those most at risk of complications arising from inadequate consumption are infants exclusively breastfeeding (breast milk is naturally low in vitamin D), adults over 50 (the skin becomes less adept at absorbing vitamin D from the sun), those with skin darkly pigmented with melanin (the skin is less able to create vitamin D from sun exposure), and those with medical conditions that affect the cells and organs e.g. Crohn’s, cystic fibrosis and celiac disease.

Too manageable to overlook
Although the upper and lower limits vary, the common thread is that we are almost universally deficient in our consumption of a vital nutrient that is very easy to address. A quick search of online pharmacies yields prices as low as $5 for a 3 month supply (2000 IU/day). With this level of accessibility and a low propensity for negative side effects, supplementing your diet with adequate levels of vitamin D makes too much sense to ignore. Get your sunshine today!

Geoff Starling
Strength & Conditioning Director
YMCA Eau Claire
gstarlin@calgary.ymca.ca


Earth Hour 2013

This Saturday March 23, is Earth Hour, an annual worldwide event. It’s a call to action for individuals and businesses to turn off their lights for one hour to raise awareness about climate change and reducing greenhouse gases. For more information about Earth Hour in Canada visit www.EarthHourCanada.org.

YMCA Calgary is committed to global education and awareness. For more information follow the link to find out more about our Global Initiatives department.


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