The story of my life at the YMCA of Morgan County began before I even joined. It began on Valentine’s Day in 2009. My husband was in the hospital with congestive heart failure and kidney failure. We all expected he would be home in a few days when the doctors got his medicines in the right balance.  Before I left that evening, he said to me, “When I get home we’re going to get in better shape or I will be gone and you will be here.” That next morning, at 3:30 a.m., I got the call that he was gone.

It took me about six months to realize that half of his prediction had already come about and I wasn’t ready for the other half to happen. I always loved swimming and had done water ballet in high school and college so the logical place for me to start was in the pool.  My sister was a water aerobics instructor at her Y in New Jersey and I had been to her classes and enjoyed them.  So in August 2009 I joined the Y and went to my first water aerobics class.  I already knew a few of the class participants, but it didn’t take me long to make a lot more new friends from a group that was friendly and fun.  My social life expanded to brunch with my new friends, joining some of them at matinees at a dinner theater and even going on my first cruise in 2012.  More cruises, theater and day trips continue to be a part of my life with these wonderful friends.

Not long after starting the water aerobics, I started coming earlier to use the elliptical and do a calisthenics class.  While doing the elliptical, I watched exercisers do the weight machines. I had no idea how to use these machines and I wanted to try them.  So, I participated in the Wellness Coaching Program and met 4 times with a personal trainer who showed me how to use the machines and which levels to start at and when to increase the weights.  One time I was using the machines and a man next to me commented sarcastically, “Are we having fun yet”? I realized that I was having fun and I was really enjoying my time at the Y.

Not too long later, I saw an announcement for a SilverSneakers Open House so I went to see if I could get some help with balance issues.  I met Robyn Thompson, who is the SilverSneakers Coordinator and was persuaded to add the Silver Sneakers YogaFit Seniors to my day.  This class has not just been a help with my balance and flexibility, but another opportunity to meet another group of new friends.  I have heard Robyn say that one of the things she is most proud of is the friendships her class has fostered.  This is so true.

Unfortunately due to arthritis in my knees and shoulder, I can no longer use the weight machines or the elliptical.  I hope some day to get back to doing the weight machines, but the doctor has told me not to use the elliptical any more.  Giving up these exercises has caused me to gain back much of the weight I had lost while exercising and following the Weight Watchers program.  However the Y had a solution for that too.  I joined the Refresh and Rejuvenate Class where Cecelia Reel challenges us to a healthy eating and active lifestyle.  It’s not just a weight loss class, but a personalized challenge to eat healthier and cleaner and mover more.

For 7 years now the Y has been a part of my life; socially, physically and mentally.  I always tell people the best and smartest thing I ever did was join the Y.

Janet Sheppard



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