Sue Mercier

The Y Provides Social Life and Exercise to Keep Her Active

Sue Mercier has been an active Y member nearly all of her life. When she was 6 years old, she learned to swim at the YMCA. This led her to lifeguard at a Y in high school. All of her four children attended Y camp, as they grew up. “We’ve always been a Y family,” Sue says.


When Sue worked at the La Crosse YMCA from 1970 to 1980, she and her husband played racquetball and shared a cup of coffee before she started her morning shift. “We were raising four teenagers, and that was our time together,” Sue says.


Today at age 74, she’s looking forward to serving as a facilitator for Senior Shape Up. Sue, who sky dived on her 70th birthday and had her first hole-in-one at age 73, is the ideal mentor. Senior Shape Up provides men and women ages 60 and older, the chance to start or return to exercising. The program provides a safe and supportive environment to show what the Y offers for this age group and how to get on the path to a healthier, more active lifestyle. It’s a great deal, Sue says, because participants receive free Y memberships during the class. If they become members, the joining fee is waived.


“It will be a lot of fun,” Sue says. “Participants will just feel so much better. You don’t have to be an Olympian to move around and to feel good.”


She speaks from experience. When you ask her what she does at the Y, Sue laughs and asks, “How much time do you have?” She attends group exercise classes six times a week, sometimes twice a day. “I like to be active,” Sue says. “I’m not the kind to ride on a recumbent bike at home. I like exercising with people. The Y provides most of my social life.”


Twice each week she participates in Fit for Life at 8 a.m., “an ungodly hour,” too early for Sue but it’s worth it. If she misses it, friends she has known through the Y for 10 years, will ask her where she was that morning. It’s like a form a positive peer pressure. “I will have to face my friends the next class. I know myself, and I would feel guilty,” she says. “Plus, I wouldn’t feel as good during the day.”


It’s the same story with her afternoon water aerobics; she looks forward to working out with her Y friends. She also enjoys yoga classes. Exercise keeps her young in mind, body and spirit. “I don’t consider myself older,” Sue says. “I plan on keeping this active for a long time. I understand that as I get older, I will want to be independent. I’ll need to work at it.”


The activities she does at the Y helps her to live actively outside of the Y. She doesn’t reside too far, and she rides her bike here many days. She loves to golf and garden. She keeps her mind sharp with crossword puzzles, Sudoku and Scrabble. Each winter she escapes the cold weather to Arizona, where she’s also extremely involved in the community. Each spring she looks forward to returning home to La Crosse, and especially to start exercising again with her long-time friends at the Y.


By Kim Seidel, Seidel Ink LLC. 2012