For decades, married couple Brian and Andrea have enjoyed frequent visits to the YMCA– and during COVID-19 was no exception. Recently retired from a very social job, Brian was adapting to a lack of socialization in the midst of the pandemic. In addition, both he and his wife stepped up to care for their aging mothers. Feeling cut off from friends, family, co-workers, and a typically busy travel schedule was a tough adjustment. 

At the beginning of the shelter in place, the couple continued to exercise and socialize, though it quickly became difficult to muster the self-discipline to complete regular workouts and they began to feel isolated.  Brian and Andrea jumped on the opportunity to continue exercising with the Y when Virtual classes became available, and were able to maintain their fitness routines and feel connected to the community of friends they had begun to miss. 

Brian explains, “The Y was a bright spot for us during this time, because the staff showed up strong with video courses taught by some of our favorite instructors; these were exercise classes that we could do on our patio with very little equipment.  These classes really lifted our spirits, and as soon as possible the staff was offering outdoor group exercise again. Classes are taught with enthusiasm and modifications so everyone feels included and inspired.”

Even the small amount of in-person social interaction made a huge difference. Seeing familiar faces in exercise class -- positive, healthy, like-minded people -- and engaging with the community made life more fun. Grateful for the enthusiastic and professional instructors, the couple haven’t let the pandemic stop them from getting a top quality workout. 

Visiting the Y 6 times a week, the YMCA delivers wonderful feelings of health, vitality, and belonging for Brian and Andrea. For them, the Y is so much more than a typical gym. It’s set apart by staff members who truly care and are invested in the health and wellness of their members on a personal level. 

“Since we spend a lot of our time now caring for our aging parents, making our health a priority allows us to keep performing well and to hold onto our good attitudes.” Brian explains, “By taking care of ourselves we’re much better at taking care of others.”