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Letter: Tough times call for exercise

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Wellness, family strengthening and community connections are more important than ever in difficult times.

With daily news focused on financial crisis, market instability, housing market woes, layoffs and health care concerns, it's easy for members of our community to feel overwhelmed and stressed out.

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Especially during tough times, it's critical to focus on the important areas of our lives where we have the power to make a positive difference -- our health and well-being, our family bonds and our connection to community.

Even moderate physical exercise can reduce the physical and emotional symptoms of stress, depression and anxiety.

Over the long term, regular exercise can ward against the physical and financial toll of chronic diseases like heart disease and diabetes.

Investing in health and well-being always offers a positive return.

Family strengthening is equally important. Make family time a priority and include children in discussions about how to trim budgets.

Eating dinner as a family or enjoying a Saturday afternoon activity together can bring families closer and reinforce the idea that family members support one another during difficult times.

Finally, our connections to community can hold us together, offer support and give us an important sense of belonging. Getting engaged in one's community, volunteering to help others in need and enjoying friendship and camaraderie enrich our lives and make each of us, and our community, stronger and more resilient.

For more than 160 years, YMCAs have supported families and individuals in good times and during some of the most challenging periods in our nation's history.

Financial aid is available to make YMCA programs and services available to all members of our community. We are proud to serve you.

Stephanie Chauss

Director

Southeast Area YMCA

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