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Guest Column: Small Changes Can Yield Big Health Rewards in the New Year

New year is perfect time to do something positive for yourself and your family.

Lynda Chott, CEO, B.R. Ryall YMCA of Northwestern DuPage County
Lynda Chott, CEO, B.R. Ryall YMCA of Northwestern DuPage County

As one of the nation’s leading nonprofits for healthy living, the YMCA improves health and well-being by helping people be healthy in spirit, mind and body.  There are also simple things families can do at home to improve their family’s health and well-being.  The following are five New Year’s Resolutions the B.R. Ryall YMCA recommends for 2014:        

1. Eat Together: Sitting down together for a meal is a great way for parents and children to share stories, or talk about the school day or their favorite part of the day. Set aside time for the family to eat breakfast, lunch or dinner at least once a week or every day if scheduling permits.

2. Volunteer Together: Giving back and supporting neighbors benefits everyone involved. It teaches children and teens the value of helping others and is also a way to meet new people or discover a new interest. Find an opportunity in your community that the entire family may enjoy, such as cleaning your neighborhood park or distributing food at a local food bank.

3. Unplug from Technology: Limit screen time (television, video games, computer, etc.) and instead set aside an hour or two for activities that allow interaction and camaraderie. If weather permits, go for a walk, go on a bike ride, take a trip to the park, or have a game night at home. If you do want to watch television, maybe have a movie night with the family. 

4. Be Physically Active: It’s important for children to get at least 60 minutes of physical activity each day (30 minutes for adults). Incorporate physical activity into your daily routines and spend more time walking to places instead of driving to improve your health and well-being.

5. Put Extras to Good Use: Do you have extra canned goods or clothes that could benefit others in need? Clean out your pantry, closet or attic and donate extra items to homeless.

As part of your resolutions for the New Year join the Y. Joining the Y means belonging to a movement that gives children, adults and families the opportunity to learn and grow, while also making communities healthier and stronger.  The Y offers everything from weights and fitness equipment to improve well-being, to kids programs that nurture their potential through learning and play. 

The Y has something for everyone and is a place for people to come to and feel supported.  It is a place where adults can find life balance; children can reach their full potential; seniors can be active and find camaraderie; and families can connect and strengthen relationships.  We invite you to explore the variety of programs we offer from licensed child care to before and after school care; school days out; aquatics, swim lessons and sports programs; group exercise and personal training; day camp; and family events.

Join our Y Jan. 1–20 and save up to $150 on a new membership. Y members will gain access to 40 new pieces of state-of-the-art cardio equipment with personal viewing systems, more than 50 hours per week of the hottest group exercise classes including BodyPump® and Insanity®, and a complimentary fitness orientation and consultation.

The Y is a nonprofit, charitable organization and is sustained in large part by the generosity of others.  I want to thank our members, volunteers, donors and friends for their financial support over the years and wish all of you a very healthy, happy and prosperous 2014.  To learn more about the Y, visit www.brryallymca.org or call 630.858.0100.

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