Pursuing Remote, in-Person Fitness, Health Goals for 2022

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — The YMCA of Youngstown is offering free access to its video platform, YMCA360.org, for a limited time. The website has group exercise classes, youth sports training, well-being classes and more.

“Whether you are at home or on the road, take the Y with you along with your favorite classes, instructors and more,” said Meri Fetkovich, YMCA of Youngstown senior director of health and wellness.

It’s one of many ways people are immersing themselves into their fitness and diet goals in 2022.

Vicki Haywood Doe, health fitness director of Vicki Doe Fitness, said some people are still fearful of in-person contact because of the  pandemic, but that should not mean avoiding exercise and healthy living. Through her website, VickiDoeFitness.com, she has adapted to the pandemic by making cooking and nutrition education classes virtual, and posting other videos and podcasts. 

Vicki Haywood Doe, health director of Vicki Doe Fitness, does a cooking demonstration at a health expo.

“With the pandemic, people have become less worried about their physical fitness in general,” Doe said. “We’re encouraging people to get back on track. One of the key components to protect ourselves from COVID – definitely doing the masks, the vaccines and all that – is also taking care of yourself so that you can have a healthy body and a powerful immune system.”

She said adults who do not regularly exercise or diet should follow CDC guidelines for physical activity. Start with a brisk walk in Mill Creek Park, along with some simple calisthenics, doing sit-ups and lifting a few weights.

“For someone that hasn’t done any type of regular exercise, we always tell folks to start small,” Doe said. “Start out slowly and do at least 150 minutes every week.”

Eating Healthier

Doe emphasizes eating more fruits and vegetables with some lean meats, not constantly grazing on unhealthy foods. A handful of almonds, or celery sticks with peanut butter are also good snacking options that follow suggestions from nutritionists.

“You’re replacing the bad habits with a new habit,” Doe said. “Just concentrate on that one – a simple, good habit. Keep practicing it and doing it every day for 60 to 120 days. You’ll be surprised that it will form into a new habit.”

Getting into that rhythm can involve working with a registered and licensed dietician, said the YMCA’s Fetkovich. Also, the biggest misnomer with nutrition is that there are foods to avoid – eliminating favorite foods.

“It means to simply reduce the size and frequency,” she said. “Any diet, except one that is medically necessary due to medication or illness, shouldn’t eliminate any foods. Please stay away from fad diets, as they do not teach you how to properly eat to live your best life.”

In-Person Workouts

Paul Guarino, co-owner and director of marketing and operations at the Ascend indoor rock-climbing facility, said there’s an allure to new people trying indoor rock climbing. It challenges fear of heights with each move up the wall. 

Doing this exercise challenges more than a person’s upper body strength.

“The better you get at using proper or good climbing technique, you’re really using your core, your legs, your feet,” Guarino said. “Everything from your fingertips to your toes is engaged when you’re on the wall. It’s definitely very much a full-body workout.”

Ascend’s sites in Boardman and Pittsburgh had about a 30% decrease in attendance this year, after experiencing one of its best months before the start of the pandemic in March 2020.

Ascend adheres to mask wearing and COVID precautions, along with having air filtration and constant disinfecting.

“If you’ve ever been thinking about rock climbing, now is a really great time,” Guarino said. “The gyms aren’t very crowded right now and our staff is eager to show people how to rock climb and make it a part of their lives.”

Carl LaRosa, fitness coordinator at YMCA of Youngstown Central Branch, teaches Jake Jackson and Quentin Huber to work with stretch bands during an athletic performance training class.

Carl LaRosa, fitness coordinator at the YMCA of Youngstown, teaches high school and collegiate athletes to increase vertical speed, jumping abilities, quickness and changing direction at the Central Branch through flex bands – better known as Jump Stretch. LaRosa is the son-in-law of Jump Stretch inventor Dick Hartzell.

LaRosa offers adult classes with less strenuous flex band workouts, teaching everyone from Youngstown firefighters to his 81-year-old mother. Strength training is important to reaching fitness goals, he said, but the workouts also help range of motion and are not bothersome to aging joints. 

Weight training is just as important, if not more, than exercises focused on the heart, lungs and associated blood vessels.

“You have a higher metabolic weight rate when you’re at rest, so you’re burning more calories at rest than your counterpart who doesn’t do weight training,” LaRosa said. “Cardiovascular training is good. You’re going to burn calories at the moment. But weight training is better because you’re going to continue to burn calories throughout the day. Your metabolic rate increases when you do weight training.”

There are plenty of options for fitness and healthfuk eating in 2022, but Fetkovich said walking while on a lunch break, exercising before or after work, taking the stairs or parking further away from a store helps keep these lifestyle goals possible for more than a few, fleeting weeks after the new year.

“Healthy habits are best incorporated into one’s lifestyle when they don’t cause too much disruption,” she said.

Pictured at top: Ben Cavicchi, route setter at Ascend Youngstown, demonstrates climbing techniques.

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.