Fitness

Parents can get fit for free at Pottstown YMCA

John Strickler - The Mercury Jason Leh works out on the rowing machine. Leh joined the Pottstown YMCA wellness group last September and lost about 40 pounds by January.

John Strickler – The Mercury Jason Leh works out on the rowing machine. Leh joined the Pottstown YMCA wellness group  and lost weight.

By Michilea Patterson, The Mercury

POTTSTOWN >> The YMCA is kicking off the New Year with a free fitness opportunity for parents.

“Y Wellness My Wellness” is a three month program that includes a free membership to the Pottstown YMCA, a personal trainer and nutritional consultant. Participants will have access to the wellness center, swimming pool and the many fitness classes.

Pottstown YMCA instructor Lizette Clark demonstrates dance moves during a free Zumba class held outside at Memorial Park Wednesday evening.

Pottstown YMCA instructor Lizette Clark demonstrates dance moves during a free Zumba class held outside at Memorial Park Wednesday evening.

The Y Wellness program began in 2014 and participants have lost more than a combined 550 inches. A new session is started every few months under the guidance of Pottstown YMCA wellness director Jennifer Gaj. The next group will begin Monday and applications are due Friday. All applicants must have a BMI of 28 or more and have children that are 15 years or younger. A BMI of 30 is considered clinically obese. The program is designed to create family fitness starting with parents.

The entire session is 12 weeks. YMCA members participate all three months for free. Nonmembers can participate for the first month free then have the option to become a member to continue the program. There are several membership discounts available based on income.

The upcoming wellness session will include a couple new additional features.

“Moving forward, we’re going to give everybody a pedometer,” Gaj said.

Each Y Wellness participant will receive a Fitkik web-based pedometer which includes a personal website that tracks activity. Gaj said people will also be able to track the activity of others in the wellness group and hopes it promotes a friendly fitness competition.

“It’s kind of another motivational thing to keep them going,” she said.

Another new Y Wellness feature is that participants will have their blood pressure monitored. Gaj said people in the wellness group are losing weight by tracking their food and fitness so now they can see how this affects blood pressure levels. High blood pressure can lead to blood clots, plaque build-up, and organ and tissue damage, according to the American Heart Association.

“It’s a good addition to the program. A lot of people don’t even know what their blood pressure is,” Gaj said.

For more information on how to apply to the wellness program, contact Jennifer Gaj at the email jgaj@philaymca.org or call 610-323-7300.

The Pottstown YMCA offers several programs to the community that can reduce the cost of a membership. Discounts are available to children, adults and senior citizens. To learn more about these money-saving programs, visit the Fit for Life website pottsmercfit4life.wordpress.com.

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