Tag Archives: benefits

Do You Know about Member Benefits?

The benefits of having a YMCA membership are endless.
Included with your membership, you have accessibility to all YMCA Calgary
branches, all YMCA Canada branches, and your YMCA membership is recognized in
other parts of the world as well. You will get advanced registration dates, as
well as reduced member rates for any registered program that you would want to
participate in. On the 5th day of every month, you are entitled to
bring a guest to experience what the YMCA has to offer for free. You get
invites to special events which include Member Nights and other functions.

These are just a few of the advantages of becoming a YMCA member!


Children are simply happier and healthier when they experience the out-of-doors.

“Research shows that nature experiences significantly reduce children’s stress. Free play in natural areas enhances children’s cognitive flexibility, problem-solving ability, creativity, self-esteem, and self-discipline.”

Read the full American Camp Association article by Richard Louv, author of  Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder and chairman of the Children & Nature Network (www.cnaturenet.org).


How Kids Succeed…at Summer Camp!

Best-selling author and journalist Paul Tough’s new book, “How Kids Succeed: Grit, Curiosity and the Hidden Power of Character,” looks at opportunities that help kids thrive, grow, lead and belong. It’s a great book, and a best-seller. It lists skills that build positive character: perseverance, curiosity, conscientiousness, optimism, and self-control. Sound a lot like the skills children and youth develop at summer camp! Do you recall feeling some of these character traits developing in you during your days at summer camp? Did you see them around you?

Research confirms the growth we see in campers and the growth we see in our camp staff colleagues.

I recall a group of 12-year-olds returning, singing, from their hiking trip in the snow and wind. They looked well-rested, well-dressed, well-fed and comfortable. I asked them how they learnt such perseverance and optimism. They told me, clearly and proudly: “From our counsellors!”

Hiking with friends – CCH YMCA…can you guess where?

How Kids Succeed…at Summer Camp!

Best-selling author and journalist Paul Tough’s new book, “How Kids Succeed: Grit, Curiosity and the Hidden Power of Character,” looks at opportunities that help kids thrive, grow, lead and belong. It’s a great book, and a best-seller. It lists skills that build positive character: perseverance, curiosity, conscientiousness, optimism, and self-control. Sound a lot like the skills children and youth develop at summer camp! Do you recall feeling some of these character traits developing in you during your days at summer camp? Did you see them around you?

Research confirms the growth we see in campers and the growth we see in our camp staff colleagues.

I recall a group of 12-year-olds returning, singing, from their hiking trip in the snow and wind. They looked well-rested, well-dressed, well-fed and comfortable. I asked them how they learnt such perseverance and optimism. They told me, clearly and proudly: “From our counsellors!”

Hiking with friends – CCH YMCA…can you guess where?

12 Reasons Aboriginal Programs Make a Difference

Did you know YMCA Calgary offers free Aboriginal programs and services? The programs and services are offered to people of Aboriginal background and help these folks connect with their Aboriginal roots and other people.

Here are the Top 12 Reasons Aboriginal Programs Make a Difference:

  1. Provide Aboriginal youth and families with a safe place to be together, build relationships and have fun.
  2. Provide Aboriginal youth and families with recreational opportunities several times a week. The rates of preventable diseases such as heart disease and Type Two diabetes are much higher in the Aboriginal community than the rest of Canada. Recreational opportunities can help to reduce this pattern.
  3. Helps Aboriginal people learn about their culture, history and foster positive self identity.
  4. Helps Aboriginal people feel welcomed and included in the Calgary community.
  5. An opportunity for non-Aboriginal people to interact with Aboriginal youth and families in a positive and meaningful way, breaking down prejudice and stereotypes that may exist.
  6. Provide a sense of community and belonging within schools to help Aboriginal children & youth deal with issues as a group instead of as an individual.
  7. Connect students to Elders and traditions that they might not have a chance to experience without the programs.
  8. Increase aptitude for employability skills such as communication, conflict management, leadership, team work, etc.
  9. Create balance in Aboriginal people’s lives through medicine wheel teachings, balancing mind, body, spirit and emotions at home, school and with peers.
  10. Build individual sense of identity to establish self-assurance so they can handle anything the world throws at them because they know who they are as a person, and understand  relationships with family, peers, community and the universe.
  11. Increases young Aboriginal people’s sense of ownership and encourages them to take ownership in everything that they do. Connecting ownership with the four values of YMCA and the 7 Sacred Teachings.
  12. Aboriginal people are the most marginalized demographic in Canada and YMCA’s Y7G program reinforces the notion that students are not destined to the stereotypes conveyed in popular media and school hallways.

Each of these points also help people in YMCA Aboriginal programs become more community-oriented and have the necessary tools to build better, healthy communities.


Benefits of Both Wired & Unwired Activities for Kids

This article entitled “Playground Dilemma: Balanace at Play” found on the eHow.com website takes a look at the pros and cons of electronic toys:

“The virtual world, however, is often unavoidable. A technology revolution complete with computer games, video consoles, accessible Wi-Fi and iPods can pose a challenge for parents who grew up playing outside and without wires. Technology is everywhere and seems to be a way of life for some families. How much is too much? What type of technological play is beneficial? And how can parents find a balance for their children?”

Read the article in full on the eHow.com website (written by Shannon Philpott).


Nutrition Tips: October 2012

Supplementation is a hot topic in fitness circles and one that leads to some great questions. Do I need to supplement? How much and what kind of supplements should I take? What time of the day is it best to take them?

Let’s start simply by addressing the two most basic and beneficial forms of supplementation: multi vitamin and fish oil. Taking a multi vitamin daily covers off deficiencies that almost all of us have.  If you have a pristine diet full of vegetables, fresh fruit and quality protein sources you may not be in dire need of a vitamin regimen but most of us fall short of the ideal. Busy lives, missed meals, poor soil conditions for our produce to grow in and so on are all contributing factors. A multi vitamin will ensure you fill in any gaps.

Fish oil is a terrific addition to your daily dietary intake. Many recent studies have found fish oil to have positive effects on everything from acne to dementia to immunity issues. It is also proven to lower LDL (the bad cholesterol) and cardiovascular disease. The key with fish oil is Omega 3s which are essential fatty acids. Our diets often don’t contain enough Omega 3s and this supplement ensures this is rectified. There are differing views as to the amount recommended but the consensus is at least 500mg; the American Heart Association suggests at least 1000mg for anyone who has had CVD.

As to the question of when to take your supplements, go for the time of day that you know you will remember to take them! With your breakfast is often a great time to ensure you remember to get an additional great start to your day.

See previous editions of Nutrition Tips.


Raising a Family in Canada

WOW! Here’s a great web page from Service Canada loaded with information on resources and services available for families in Canada.

All about tax credits, programs offered by the goverment, keeping healthy, special needs, etc… You name it, you can probably find a link to the information off this website.

CLICK HERE to go to the Raising a Family website by the Government of Canada.


How to Get Teens/Tweens Moving

In an About.com Guide article, Catherine Holecko talks about the importance of physical activity for teens and tweens, and also provides a bunch of suggestions for how to get young people moving?

“Just as it is for adults and younger kids, teen fitness is important for physical and mental health. Adolescents need 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity a day to stay healthy. And exercise has particular benefits for pre-teens and teens, as it can:

  • Reduce anxiety, stress, and depression
  • Improve self-esteem
  • Boost academic performance
  • Help establish lifelong healthy habits

That’s in addition to the way teen fitness helps with weight management, builds muscle strength and bone mass, and helps control blood pressure.

Pretty convincing! And yet physical activity tends to decline as…”

Read more at: http://familyfitness.about.com/od/teenagers/a/teen_fitness.htm


The Art and Science of Interval Training

Written by Kristaps Petrovs, Eau Claire YMCA Strength and Conditioning Instructor

Runners at all levels should be able to utilize this mode of training and receive significant improvements in their racing times, regardless of where they finish in the pack.

Interval Training Terminology:

Interval: The recovery distance between the bursts.

Repeat(repetition): The fast burst part of interval training.

Energy System: The fuel supply systems that the body employs during various types of (intensity) of exercise.

Anaerobic: Fast, high intensity exercise where you cannot supply enough oxygen to the working muscles and consequently have to stop slow down.

Aerobic: Steady state exercise where you take in enough oxygen to supply the muscle’s demands. This would be running at a pace you can maintain for a long time.

Benefits of Interval Training:

Improves Competition. It stimulates the stress of race pace and conditions athletes for competition

Improves Neuromuscular Coordination. Your nervous system gets used to running at a faster pace.

Less lactic acid accumulation at a given pace. It trains the athlete to run faster and train their body to accumulate less lactic acid at a given pace.

Thermoregulatory system is not as stressed. Body heat does not accumulate as rapidly as during continuous running.

Runners of all abilities can use it. Interval training can benefit almost any healthy person, from beginning exercisers to world-class endurance athletes.

Interval Training–You run shorter bursts faster than you would run a race, with much slower recovery intervals between these fast bursts. This how you get the name “Intervals”.

With recovery intervals, we eventually adapt to sustaining the workload for a longer period.

By manipulating the length of the recovery interval we create the desired training effect. For example, short recovery intervals create an oxygen debt, so we improve faster.

To find your level of performance you need to take the following factors into account: the acronym is DIRT:

D Distance of each fast burst

I Interval, or length of recovery jog or walk between fast bursts

R Repetitions. How many fast bursts we do in one session.

T Time for each fast burst.

Most runners go wrong by using incorrect distances for their fast bursts and/or recovery distance, then wonder why they aren’t improving their times, or their times are getting even slower.

Here are some key guidelines to using intervals successfully:

  1. It’s important to exercise the right energy system your competitive racing distance stresses. Your fast bursts need to be the correct distance for your main racing event.
  2. It’s critical you recover completely between interval sessions so your energy reserves are replenished and your muscle tissue has time to recover and rebuild.
  3. Don’t do too many fast interval bursts in each workout.
  4. Experiment with adjusting your recovery interval to get the desired training effect for your racing distance.
  5. Interval training should not become your focal point of your weekly training program. You don’t want to become over competitive with yourself and obsessed with your interval times.
  6. Establish your limitations with all of the above.

Finding the Right Energy System for your Interval Sessions

Three energy systems can be stressed with interval training:

  1. Adenosine Thriphosphate-Phosphocreatine (ATP-PC) System if you’re training for very short-term fast energy release activities of less then 10 seconds (like 100m sprints).
  2. Lactic Acid System, which primary uses glucose as it’s energy source, for events lasting 1-3 min. (such as 400m-1500m).
  3. Aerobic System which uses oxygen as its catalyst for energy release while burning fats and carbohydrates in events that last longer than 3 min.

Unless you are a sprinter, the ATP-PC system is not worth using in your training. The lactic acid system becomes more important because middle distance runners stress it when they compete. But the main system recreational and semi-serious runners utilize is the aerobic system, they should be between 3-10min.

How to estimate the speed of your fast Interval bursts?

The longer the fast bursts, the slower they need to be because of our limited ability to supply oxygen to the working muscles and to disperse fatiguing byproducts (such as lactic acid) as they build up. So, if you do mile repeats, do them 10-25 sec. faster than your average 5km race pace.

Once you reach 8 or 10x400m repeats comfortably, for example, you can pick up your pace by about 2-3 seconds for following sessions.

General advice for doing your interval workouts.

Many runners waste their time doing 100-400m bursts and wonder why their times don’t improve. They’re not exercising the right energy systems for their racing distance. However, you will get benefits from doing shorter interval bursts. You’ll improve your neuromuscular coordination of running at high speed, which will help you run faster in your races. The disadvantage of shorter faster intervals is that as intensity increases, so do your chances of injury because of the higher impact.

The length of your interval bursts.

Because of the precise nature of the distances and times you’ll be running, interval training is best done on 400m track. How far you should be running in your fast bursts? Distances that stress the aerobic system include 800m (2 laps), 1200m (3laps), 1600m (4laps), and even 2000m (5laps).

How many fast bursts should you do in an interval workout?

The cumulative distance of the fast bursts in your interval workouts should add up to 1,5-2 miles for beginners. For example, a session of 8x400m should be the absolute maximum number prescribed, and that would not be recommended for your first interval workout. You might start with 4 repeats of 400m, adding 2 to that workout next time you do it.

What to do in the recovery intervals?

Walking or jogging, or a combination of the two, is recommended in the interval between your fast bursts. Your first goal is to adapt to the interval workouts by attaining the maximum number of repetitions over these distances. Then, for continued improvement, speed up the fast bursts, or decrease the recovery interval between them.

Decreasing the length of the recovery interval between fast bursts achieves great results, because this does not allow your energy sources (ATP and glucose) to completely resynthesize.

Thus you draw on the emergency back up system, the lactic acid system. Your body adapts to this by tolerating smaller amounts of lactic acid, enabling you to cruise at much faster pace with less lactic acid building up.

How much time is needed to recover from an interval workout?

It’s critical for you to adapt your interval workouts rather let them exhaust you because of the high risk of illness or injury. Allow at least 48 hours between these high intensity workouts, and if you’re over 30 years old, one interval workout a week is sufficient. Your muscles, tendons, ligaments, and connective tissue need much longer to recover past this age, as they lose their elasticity and resilience.

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