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Fit Island: Invest in fitness

COURTESY PHOTO Maggie Davis leading a fitness class.
COURTESY PHOTO Maggie Davis leading a fitness class.

When I entered my first triathlon over 20 years ago, it came with a hefty entry fee. Since I’m a pretty frugal person, I knew this would help motivate me to follow through on my commitment to train and compete because I wanted my money’s worth.

Joining a training program or a gym and parting with your hard earned money isn’t always a guarantee of follow through, but it is one way to consider boosting compliance.

The many ways that exercise is beneficial (particularly to the brain) have been well researched over these past two decades. At that time however, I just knew I felt better, that my mood had improved, my energy was great and my body composition had changed.

Completing the challenge not only gave me a huge sense of accomplishment, but I learned just how far outside my comfort zone I could train. This was a valuable life lesson because “outside your comfort zone” is where change happens (whether it’s a test of endurance or a change of careers). Not only was I more fit, I was more confident. So for me, the entry fee was money well spent.

Recently, the Fit Center has had to raise its yearly membership fee by a miniscule amount and that has caused some consternation with a few folks. But if you look at it as an investment in health, it’s a very small sum to pay. Even at the new rates, Shelter Island’s Project Fit is a bargain.

There have been numerous improvements under the leadership of Recreation Director Bethany Ortmann and Fit Center Manager Emily Bohach, including new equipment and a cleaner facility. If you haven’t been recently, you should check it out. Also, memberships run for a year from date of purchase — versus the previous January to January policy.
There are also numerous group fitness classes at the Legion/Youth Center, which are also very reasonably priced at $5 per class or $45 for a pack of 10 classes.

They include PIYO, Yoga, Zumba, Zumba Gold, Functional Fitness, Alignment Base, Essentrics and Tap Dance. When you take a group class you get the knowledge and leadership of the instructor as well as the camaraderie and motivation from the other participants. It’s healthy socializing and a great way to get moving if you don’t know where to start. There’s also Pickle Ball which is offered for free. Stop by and pick up a schedule.

Personal training is a good option if you need accountability and/or more individual instruction, but it can be pricey. Some trainers will let you share a session with a friend to make it more affordable.

Sometimes just one or two sessions are all you’ll need to create a program you can adhere to. If you are comfortable working out on your own, there are numerous online programs and fitness apps for your smart phone and many are free.

Of course, there are numerous free options when it comes to fitness. Walking, for instance, is easy and cheap. Most people already own a pair of comfortable walking shoes, which is all you really need. However, if you do have some money to invest in your walking program, a fitness tracker is very worthwhile. Before I got my step tracker, walking my dog was mostly about getting the job done. Now I find we go the extra mile — literally.

The bottom line is, the more time and/or money you spend on fitness the less you could end up spending on medical care. Even if you have a great health insurance policy, are doctor’s offices and hospitals where you want to spend your future if you can avoid it? Many of today’s chronic maladies are termed “lifestyle diseases” meaning that the choices we make regarding how we live our lives can lead us toward illness or away from it.

I think most people know by now that among those lifestyle choices, exercise ranks pretty high. Fitness will always be your best investment paying big dividends in your future health and wellness, which is priceless.