Abby’s Healthy Living Advice during Covid-19 

Dear Abby, Please share some health and fitness tips. I’m stressed out and anxious about Covid-19…and life these days -- the election, the planet, our kids, our seniors, our schools, our local businesses, the economy and everything it seems! Anxiety abounds…no matter where you land in your beliefs and no matter where you get your news. What can the Y do to help? 
Boothbay and Beyond

Dear Boothbay and Beyond,

I’m happy to share some thoughts with you! This is actually my first “Dear Abby” letter in a long time. I’ll call it an “Advice BLOG!” 

Yes, I get it -- these are unsettling times…but guess what? You know what helps? Exercise! Aerobic Exercise, Stretching, Muscle Building and even simple movement-- it all helps! 

Maybe your schedule has been turned upside down these days or you need a little extra motivation? We all need motivation. It’s just human nature to need a little motivation sometimes. Think of the reasons you are looking to get moving and exercising. Well, staying healthy in a pandemic might be a good motivator to start. Sometimes working toward an upcoming event or reunion (when will those ever happen!?) Sometimes our doctor has advised us to exercise. Sometimes it’s as simple as you know it will make you feel a little better. I find that even if you don’t really feel like getting up and moving when you first start, you’ll always be glad you did it when you’re done!

There are well-researched scientific reasons on how exercise helps us. According to the Mayo Clinic:

During aerobic/cardiovascular activity, you repeatedly move muscles in your arms or legs. Your heart rate increases and you breathe faster and more deeply. This maximizes the amount of oxygen in your blood and ultimately helps you use oxygen more efficiently…your heart, lungs and blood efficiently deliver oxygen throughout your body. As a result, you feel more energized and don't tire as quickly.
Cardio exercise can: 
•    Boost immunity
•    Strengthen your heart and muscles
•    Burn calories and control appetite
•    Boost mood through release of endorphins, feel-good chemicals 
•    Help you sleep better
•    Reduce arthritis pain and stiffness through joint movement
•    Help prevent or manage high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes

What if exercise and “cardio” seems daunting? There’s also lots of research on starting small, at your own level…do what you can and build up slowly!

According to the Mayo Clinic: No matter what your age, aerobic exercise will help you in your daily activities and increase your stamina and endurance. Take a three-pronged approach -- Include three elements in your workout:
•    Warm-up. Before each session, warm up for five to 10 minutes to gradually rev up your cardiovascular system and increase blood flow to your muscles. Try a low-intensity version of your planned activity. For example, if you plan to take a brisk walk, warm up by walking slowly.
•    Conditioning. At your own pace, work up to at least 30 minutes of cardio a day to develop your aerobic capacity by increasing your heart rate, depth of breathing and muscle endurance.
•    Cool-down at the end of each session; cool down for five to 10 minutes AND STRETCH – arms, legs, shoulders, back and neck!
•    Moderate activity should cause you to breathe faster, but if you experience unusual pain or alarming symptoms during exercise, stop immediately and seek medical attention.

Many people walk outside and around our beautiful peninsula. I see many people around town, or Ocean Point or on a local Land Trust trail. 

The Y is open, including our beautiful pool, cardio room, fitness studios, gym, weight training facilities and indoor track! Working out on your own is great but so is joining a class with good music and trained, friendly instructors. A class can be a great motivator!

You can even take many of our classes at home, online with our Y instructors, or come on in to the Y to our physically distanced, clean and safe gym and studios. Many of our classes happen both “in-person at the Y” (with physical distancing) OR simultaneously on Zoom and/or Facebook. Some classes are in-person only and some are Zoom only. We’re working hard to offer something for everyone during this challenging time. You can find the class schedule on the website: If you are looking for a Zoom link or have any other questions, call the Y or email me Many folks are not comfortable coming into the Y; we know and respect that. Nevertheless, whether it’s online or in-person, being together to move and exercise can be a good motivator – and lots of fun!

Whether you work at home or here at the Y…we thank all our members who are hanging in with us during this time. THANK YOU! You are keeping us afloat, keeping our doors safely open and our staff busy lifting spirits and helping our community stay healthy!

I hope this helps to answer your question. Please email me if you have any more questions or topics for the next “Dear Abby Advice Blog.”
Stay Motivated!

Abby Jones
BRYCA Healthy Living Coordinator… and Advice Blogger