proves that fitness is far more than sports and exercise.It is life.Dana
is the adult fitness and wellness coordinator at the Valley Shore YMCA
in Westbrook and a resident of Chester. Dana began working part-time at the Y in 1993 and became its first personal trainer.She
started the personal training program and saw it grow into a major department.She
now runs the training program and coordinates health activities, specializing in the active elderly adult population.
"Fitness and wellness have basically been my life," says Dana
. Dana has been a trainer for 20 years.A runner and outdoor enthusiast while she was growing up in Madison, Dana graduated from Daniel Hand High School and went to the University of Maine.She
initially studied business but after realizing it was not for her
switched to outdoor education.
"My passion was the outdoors, not business," says Dana
. Dana received an associate's degree in outdoor education and a bachelor's in recreation management.While working with injured athletes at Maine, Dana decided to become a personal trainer. As a trainer, Dana emphasizes a "whole wellness perspective that fitness is as much about attitude as it is activity."She
starts each new trainee with a fitness evaluation and screens for health issues.After a series of physical tests, she
helps devise a program based on the person's goals and works on building core strength by working the major muscle groups.While she
works mostly with the active elderly adult population, Dana trains people of all different ages and fitness goals.
Dana teaches five classes in her
40-plus hours a week at the Y including Silver Sneakers, a chair class in which its participants perform the exercises sitting.The class is geared toward the active elderly group and works on strength, flexibility, and range of motion to increase the quality of life in day to day activities such as getting around and lifting things around the house.Dana
ends each week with a Breathe and Relax class each Friday that teaches relaxation techniques. In addition to training, Dana is a certified nutritionist, trained by American Health Science University in Colorado.Dana
discourages dieting and instead promotes a balanced diet and slower eating.
"One of the biggest problems is that people eat too fast," says Dana
"I've always had a relationship with plants," says Dana
."The key is to work rhythms with nature and make food your medicine."Dana
recently gave a lecture at the Deep River library titled Eat Your Weedies, highlighting many unconventional yet beneficial natural delicacies.Dana
maintains a garden where she
grows herbs and as much produce as possible using organic methods.She
has been a vegetarian since she
Another one of Dana's interests is yoga.She
practices sbvadhyaya, one of yoga's niyama, or internal, disciplines that promotes self-awareness and reflection.She
also teaches yoga at the Y.
"Team sports weren't my thing," she
says. While not a competitive athlete, Dana is an avid hiker and outdoors person.She
also enjoys cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.She
encourages such activities with the people she
trains because they are fun and can include families.
"You need to enjoy exercise and the best way is to do fun activities with other people," Dana