CAROL LEMAY: RETIREMENT IS OFFERING A LOT MORE OPPORTUNITIES FOR CLASSES AND FUN AT THE Y
Before Carol Lemay retired as a 4th grade teacher in Nashua, she used to get to the Y one day a week for swimming and yoga, usually on Saturdays. During school vacation weeks, she made a point to swim at the Y many more days. She enjoyed her time exercising, but her schedule was busy with work. Jump ahead to her retirement in June 2020. You can now find Carol at the Y nearly every day. “My husband and I joined the Y together years ago. He has diabetes and wanted to exercise indoors when the weather was not good. I have a bad back and swim and exercising helps me greatly,” she shared.
“I retired during the pandemic. It was such a joy to go to the Y. The staff were wonderful. We would be wearing masks, yet they greeted every member by name at the desk. Even with masks on! The Y did such a great job cleaning. I felt very comfortable.”
In addition to being a regular swimmer at the Y, Carol loves the group exercise classes. Initially she would get aerobic exercise using the treadmill, stationery bike in the wellness center. “I branched out to first going to Leslie’s Zumba class. She’s wonderful. She’s inviting. During the early part of the pandemic, there would only be about ten people in her class. I would do what I could, but I was sore. Going to her classes had made me stronger. I also love ‘Ripped’ with Meredith. She’s awesome. I do Ripped class, followed by a stretching class. The teachers help me modify my exercises. I’m not able to do burpees yet, but Meredith has shown me how to do a half burpee. I’m one of the oldest people in the class, probably. You have to have a sense of humor when trying something new.”
Carol has felt the positive effects of regular exercise. “My body is transformed. My core is stronger. Exercise has helped my back. Mentally, this helps me feel so much better. When I go to classes, it’s so much fun. Saturday’s is Tumbao (9:30) Latin Dance with Iraida. It’s so much fun. It’s exercise that includes dancing the Cha Cha, the Mambo, all with great Latin music!”
Carol goes to the Westwood Park Branch for pickleball. (Pickleball is a sport that combines many elements of tennis, badminton and ping-pong and is played both indoors or outdoors on a badminton-sized court.) She learned how to play at Fields Grove Park in Nashua, but noted that the pickleball players at the Y welcome new players and are happy to teach them the game. “Sometimes my husband plays pickleball with me at the Y, but he’s much better than I am!”
“Going to the Y is not like going to a gym to exercise. The Y is helpful in the community. It’s more like a community center. And giving access to everyone is a huge benefit the community and I really think that’s good. The Y is great because it’s so inclusive. I love the food program (the Y is a distribution site for free food in conjunction with the Nashua Soup Kitchen and United Way), the Giving Tree, and the food collection programs benefiting End 68 Hours of Hunger. It really touches my heart.”
Leslie has just started as a YMCA volunteer. Her first project was helping sort and pack holiday cards donated from all over the country to our local Holiday Cards for Our Military Challenge. These cards will be send overseas to all military service branches.
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