Middlesex YMCA virtual Strong challenge free to community

MIDDLETOWN — The Northern Middlesex YMCA invites all in the community to participate in a free six-week Strong challenge designed to help transform spirit, mind and body.

The YMCA of Greater Cincinnati began this program earlier this year, and it had such great success in helping to elevate their community that they wanted to make it national and available to all YMCAs, according to a press release.

“Now, more than ever before we need to recharge and refocus,” YMCA of Greater Cincinnati President and CEO Jorge Perez said in a prepared statement. “The COVID-19 pandemic has worn us down. It’s isolated us in so many ways. This challenge provides an opportunity to get active and healthier by yourself or as a Strong family.”

The program will run from Oct. 19 to Nov. 27. Registration is free and open to all. Each week, there will be a new menu of national and local virtual and in-person programs. Once people register, they’ll receive three texts a week with motivations, challenges, workouts, and a chance to celebrate their successes at the end of the week, the release said.

The Middlesex YMCA program is connected to national Y Strong Challenges and offered locally along with the Valley Shore YMCA and YMCA Camp Hazen. Support from Middlesex Health and the Community Foundation of Middlesex County make it possible to offer the program for free.

YMCA membership is not required. The program includes a free two-week Y membership, although it doesn’t require participants to take group classes or come into the Y at all, according to the organization.

“We want to offer this as a way to help everyone in the community feel empowered to take care of themselves, their health and reconnect with other people,” YMCA CEO Michele Rulnick said in the statement. “We wanted to give people an easy way to think about their health and wellness again, do something small for themselves to get started on that journey and come together as a community.”

To participate, text “STRONG” to 844-360-5656. The first 500 Y members to do so will receive a magnetic accountability calendar to plan activities and set goals. A paper version of the calendar, which can be printed at home, is available on the Middlesex YMCA website.

“The program is really designed to motivate us to get us moving, but also to help us as we progress through the six weeks concentrate on things like sleep, reducing stress, or incorporating play into our day, Heather Chandor, vice president of the local YMCA, said in the release.

Participants gain access to weekly coaching sessions, virtual workouts and newsletter filled with wellness tips and links.

Visit midymca.org/strong-challenge to take part.

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