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Snowbird Flies Home

By YWCA Minneapolis
October 18, 2022
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Three short months ago, Leslie Stanaway walked through the doors of YWCA Minneapolis and, though she’d been away since 2017, it was as if she’d never left.

Coming home to YWCA Downtown

After almost five years in sunny Arizona, former Minneapolitan Leslie Stanaway yearned to come home. “I missed the vibe of living downtown, friends, activities and the neighborhood.” Today, Stanaway is, again, living a hop, skip and a jump away from our Nicollet Mall location, her fitness home where she first joined us in 2011.

“Seeing the familiar faces and hearing the friendly ‘welcome backs,’ walking through doors of YWCA downtown, I knew I had come home.” —Leslie Stanaway

But while away, she never broke from her commitment to fitness.

Pandemic Out of State, Not Out of Mind

In a trek to the Zion National Park (Utah) she’d go kite flying and she’d run and bike outdoors. In her new home of the Phoenix suburbs she’d run, hike and walk.

“‘Fortunate’ is at the best way I can describe how the pandemic affected me and my workout and wellness routine. Living in the Phoenix area during the pandemic allowed me to continue working out with a few adjustments. Initially with the gym and pool closed, I tweaked my routines. However, running and walking due to the weather kept me moving and feeling healthy. I did add some physical brain games to make it more fun: kite flying and walking while bouncing a basketball. When flight travel became available, I quickly booked a four-day bike/hike Trek Travel Tour to Zion National Park.”

“I would not allow fear to prevent me from living life the best I could.”

Road to Fitness

Leslie, at 69 expresses a heartfelt thank you to YWCA staff for giving her the opportunity to participate in endurance sports classes throughout the years.

“The instructors helped me become a triathlete.  Never had I anticipated participating in something as cool as that at my age.”

She started working out in her 20s. “I did jazzercise mostly and water aerobics during my two pregnancies.” But she says her advice to anyone at any age interested in starting a fitness routine is to “just start moving.”

“Self search. If you like to dance or walk or use weights, solo or group, ask yourself, ‘What would be a fun activity that would also be good for keeping the body healthy?'”

Inside or Out?

Leslie says as the weather allows she will run, walk and bike outside. How about when it snows? “I stop biking first, no snow rides for me. I will continue to run with warmer clothing until I am uncomfortable throughout the run. Then I take it inside to YWCA. I do elliptical, treadmill classes, even in the decent weather.”

How about Virtual?

“Totally not into the virtual thing as an option for me. I like the ambiance of a gym or studio and being with others, following the instructor in person motivates me far more than virtual where I can be distracted easily.

Smiles for Miles

“Working out at YWCA Minneapolis in person keeps me smiling. From restorative yoga with Dana for relaxation and stretching to circuit for an all around workout with Jake, I am enjoying time back home in familiar surroundings with members and the staff.

“My advice for others is to move in any way possible: stretching, walking jogging, and if necessary start slow and build up.  Most of all stay with it and notice feeling better each day.”

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