Do you like to exercise but sometimes find it hard to stick with the routine on your own? Maybe you don't know exactly what exercises to perform to help you lose weight, or to build muscle. Do you find it hard to stay focused or stay motivated because there's no accountability in exercising alone? Do you think, "I wish I had someone to exercise with, to encourage me, to motivate me, to show me the proper exercises to perform?" If you're that person who doesn't like to exercise alone, who needs encouragement and motivation from people who are completing the exercise along with you, Back on Track could be for you.

Back on Track is a 13-week program offered here at the Neosho Freeman Family YMCA. The program is designed for beginners new to an exercise program. The program slowly and gradually increases your level of physical activity.

Past participants of the Back on Track program have lost up to 30 pounds, and dropped several inches. Losing weight and inches are a great result of this program, but also participants gain strength and endurance, which are both extremely important to overall health and wellness of the body. Let's look a little closer at strength and endurance and why they are so important.

When talking about our muscles, there is both muscular strength and muscular endurance. According to, "muscular strength is the maximal amount of force that a muscle can exert against some form of resistance in a single effort." Muscular endurance is defined as "multiple muscle contractions or a sustained muscle contraction over a period of time, for example, running, climbing, or performing muscle repetitions." An example of using muscular strength would be a single repetition at a given weight. So, by lifting weights and participating in strength training exercises, you are increasing your muscular strength and endurance.

According to, cardiovascular endurance is "the ability of the heart, lungs, and blood vessels to deliver oxygen to working muscles and tissues, as well as the ability of those muscles and tissues to utilize that oxygen." This is basically describing an individual's ability to perform any activity, such as running, that increases the heart to a training level and staying at that level for a sustained period of time. So, as we can see, it is very important for a person to increase their strength and endurance both muscular, and cardiovascular. According to the National Institute of Aging, most people lose 20 to 40 percent of their muscle tissue as they get older.
Performing strength exercises can help slow this process, and endurance can help in keeping our heart healthy.

In addition to losing weight and increasing your strength and endurance through different muscular and cardiovascular exercises, this program also offers accountability as well as follow-up from a certified instructor.
This Back on Track program is for YMCA members only, and is held on Wednesdays beginning September 18. Call the Neosho Freeman Family YMCA 455-9999 for more information on this program and possibly getting "back on track" this fall.

Sarah Sonis is program director for the Freeman Southwest Family YMCA.