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When you build muscle, you build character and find joy

February 2012

I am sure you will agree, what we want is not always the easiest to achieve. I, and millions of others, fantasize about having an athlete’s physique.

We’re inundated by information and advice. There’s Dr. Oz, medical experts and enough information on the Internet to achieve our dream. We have the tools. I have a stationary bike and a Stairmaster, but they have ironing hanging on them.

Here’s a workout: move heavy cans from the pantry and donate them to charity.

This not only builds muscle, it builds character. It is doable.

Exercise is fun for young children. Our food programs for the YMCA energize youngsters in calisthenics, swimming and other programs. At BUMP (Urban Mediation Project) basketball games in several high-school gyms, and teenagers learn to compete, achieve and build character. Generations’ snacks and juice replenish the energy needed to perform. Our cooking classes support nutrition and a taste for “slow food.”

We can motivate ourselves to action. Down a healthy juice and protein smoothie. Hunt for those miracle fruits and vegetables and eat at least several of them daily. Head to the mall for a walk. Begin walking those 10,000 steps daily. (Check with your doctor before beginning any exercise regimen.)

Enough New Year resolutions, enough promises. Let’s do it.

It’s not too early to reserve for Generations’ Theatre Evening May 2. Same Time Next Year, at the Segal Centre. 514-933-8585.

Meet Josephine. Although in her early 70s, she doesn’t look a day over 50. Josephine has been a volunteer at Sun Youth for five years and before that volunteered with other organizations in her neighbourhood. She has been volunteering since she was 6.

“If you’re sitting at home doing nothing,” she says, “go do something for others.”

Josephine is a full-time volunteer, sorting and organizing donations, among other things.

She also finds the time to volunteer for another organization. Josephine says she’s addicted to volunteering because it brings her a rush of adrenalin and endorphins.

For Josephine, the joy that she gets from volunteering is not the only thing that she needs to be happy. She also needs to stay active and in shape, and recently started to train for a five-kilometre marathon she plans to run this spring. In 1990, she came in first in a 20-km race.

Josephine has a car (which she uses to help people in need of transportation), but prefers to come to Sun Youth on her bicycle. Two years ago, she did 5,000 km on her bike just in her day-to-day travels. She is also a member of three choirs.

“Whatever activity you do, it should always be pleasant. It should never be painful or tiresome. You should always do an activity that you enjoy, at the pace you enjoy at the moment that’s right for you.

“The hardest thing when you start doing physical activity is to put your shoes on! Once that’s done, you’re okay!”



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