As summer heats up, fitness cools down


Misha T. Kwasniewski/staff photographer
Dodi Hartman leads a spinning class at the Cortland YMCA Tuesday. The YMCA and the YWCA experience a moderate drop off in the number of people who exercise at the facilities in the summer months

Local gyms say membership is always a little slower in the summer as barbecues beckon

Staff Reporter

Summer sun and warm weather doesn’t stop Harold White from his regular workout routine at the local YMCA.
“The weather outside is warm and it’s air conditioned in here,” the 45-year-old said Tuesday afternoon at the Tompkins Street gym. “This time of year it does get a little quieter, but I like to stay in shape year-round.”
Employees in the local gyms agreed with White — membership is always a little slower in the summer. Still, they said, there are plenty of customers who are committed to staying fit.
“There always is a drop off in the summer,” said Matthew Kemak, membership service director for the YMCA. “Most health clubs would see an increase in the winter from New Year’s resolutions, then there is a slight drop off. We always keep encouraging people to come.”
The Cortland YWCA on Clayton Avenue is giving out a free pass for a two-week period, allowing people to try out the facilities through the end of August.
The Cortland County Youth Bureau also offers adult swim and aerobic classes for the summer at Wickwire Pool in Suggett Park. For youths, there are outdoor camping trips and canoeing trips, both of which help children get exercise, said Susan Williams, youth services supervisor for the Youth Bureau.
Meryl Fish, YWCA health and fitness director, said exercise classes get a little slower with the warmer weather.
“Certain classes do get slow because we see a surge of the weather getting nicer,” she said. “I notice scheduling changes, too, more people exercise in the morning compared to in evening.”
The YWCA has more than 1,400 members, and offers aerobics, kickboxing, step, cycling, yoga, water and weight room classes, Fish said.
The YMCA has more than 1,500 members, and offers cycling, swimming, karate, weights and yoga among other classes.
The key to staying fit is making sure you make a year-round commitment, Kemak said.
“You keep doing it, and that’s what you want to stay physically fit,” he said.
Fish said some people come to the gym more during the summer months to get in shape for the warmer weather.
“It gives you more energy, even to go out and enjoy the warm weather,” she said “It’s an ego booster and it makes you feel good.”
The Healthy Heart Coalition of Cortland County sponsors a “Move For Life” program to help get people excited about working out, even if they don’t go to the gym.
The program is several months long, and started about a month ago, but teams can still sign up, according to Suzanne Parson, supervising public health educator.
Teams log in their weekly mileage through activity. Gardening, washing windows, walking, jogging and biking are only a few of the activities that count toward the teams’ weekly mileage.
Teams can be anywhere between two and 15 people, Parson said.
“A lot of time people don’t develop good habits for staying fit and are a little more likely to do it in summer and especially if they have a buddy to do it with,” she said. “We focus on getting credit for people doing what they like to do, if you’re going to wash your windows, you might as well get credit for it.”
Anyone who is interested in signing up a team for “Move For Life” can contact Parsons at (607) 756-3416.


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Lot size issue for some in Virgil zoning change

Staff Reporter

VIRGIL — About 50 Virgil residents asked questions and aired grievances over proposed revisions to town zoning law at an informational meeting with the town Planning Board Tuesday night.
A public hearing with the Town Board is scheduled for June 13, with a special meeting of the board to immediately follow.
“It’s been two and a half years of hard work on a lot of people’s part to get where we are today,” said Planning Board Chairman Craig Umbehauer.
In addition to working with Cortland County Planning Department Chairman Dan Dineen, the town also consulted with a member of the Central New York Regional Planning and Development Board in Syracuse.
“Not only are we trying to come up to speed from the past 30 years,” said Planning Board member Jim Maarschalk said after the meeting, “we’re trying to anticipate the next 25.”
Whether or not the board will vote on the proposal following the public hearing isn’t certain, but changes cannot be made to the draft afterward without holding another public hearing.



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Amateur thespians have new venue in Homer

Staff Reporter

HOMER — Chris Xenakis has lived in Cortland for about a year. Since he moved from the Binghamton area he has been searching for an outlet for his unique voice and theater talent.
Now, with the addition of a new community theater group called C4ACT, Xenakis has an opportunity to display his talent.
“This is really exciting,” Xenakis said. “Community theater is such a great meeting place for the arts and is something the area really needed.”
Thanks to the efforts of SUNY Cortland’s Judith Van BusKirk and Terri Fendya of the Homer Center for the Arts, the group of would-be thespians has chosen a play, co-directors and held the first round of auditions Tuesday night.
About 15 hopefuls auditioned at the Center for the Arts Tuesday night, trying for various roles in “Inherit the Wind” by Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee. The play is based on the famous “Scopes Monkey Trial” of 1925, in which two lawyers argue the case of a science teacher accused of teaching evolution.



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