The YMCA, Ensuring a Brighter Future

Don & Patty McCrery

Commitment to Exercise Together Motivates Y Members


Exercise has always played a vital role for both Don and Patty McCrery. They fondly recall that on their first date, they played tennis. When they married each other in mid-life, their fitness took on a new meaning; it became a shared passion. This dynamic duo literally doubled their efforts to motivate one another, and they're perfect exercise buddies. At age 78, Don, and at age 70, Patty, they haven't slowed down as active members of the La Crosse Area Family YMCA.


On this morning at the Y, the couple completed a challenging, hour-long class of strength and conditioning. With obvious affection for one another, they appear energized, laughing and joking, about Don's "fast food" socks. One is a hamburger and one is French fries. The socks sparked a lot of attention that day in class. They enjoy working out with younger Y members, who they say inspire them. Yet perhaps it works both ways. With their enthusiasm for physical activity, they motivate others at the Y. The McCrerys typically go to the Y and participate in sessions as a couple with enthusiasm. If one or the other is missing from class, Don or Patty is asked about their other half. It's a testament of their commitment to exercise together. It's noticeable to others when they're apart. 


They have many reasons they love to exercise, and they're glad to share a few of the many benefits. "You feel so good when you're done with exercise class," says Patty, and Don adds, "You need to move it or lose it. You don't want muscle atrophy. It also helps with weight control." Another benefit of the Y for the McCrerys is the fun social time with members and instructors. "We like coming here; it's our associations that we enjoy," says Don. Patty finishes his thoughts, as many long-time married couples do, "It's like a second family; we have made great friendships." The McCrerys are lively early birds. They love participating in Y exercise classes that begin between 5:30 to 6 a.m. "We like to get in here and then get out again," says Patty with a smile.


Although sessions can change seasonally, they attend morning work-outs, including boot camp, group strength training and total body conditioning. They love the variety those classes offer, as well as the challenging exercises that help to keep them in shape, ready for a full day ahead. Once they leave the Y, their active lives continue. They're devoted to bicycling, kayaking, taking walks, gardening, and snow shoeing. Don plays tennis three times a week, and Patty belongs to hiking and biking groups. They share friends with these mutual interests. A related sport, pickle ball, is one of their new pastimes. Although their family doesn't live in this area, they also like to take trips to visit their three sons and seven grandchildren. When it's time to rest and unwind, they enjoy reading books.


It's obvious that they help each other to keep healthy and they share a few examples. If it weren't for Patty, Don admits, his occasional desire to sit around would last longer than a day or two. If it weren't for Don, Patty confesses, her random craving for junk food would occur more frequently. It's heart-warming how they naturally hold each other accountable. As part of their discipline, they step on a scale every morning. "That way the weight won't creep up on us," Patty explains. They've been happily married 35 years, recently celebrating their wedding anniversary in June. "We are best friends to each other; we can talk to one another about anything," Patty says, while Don nods in agreement.


- By Kim Seidel, Seidel Ink LLC. 2014