Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Why Try PUSH ME? A New Customized Training Program at UVAC

"I just wanted to say how much I enjoyed PUSH ME with Katherine MacPhearson  this summer.

I’ve been working with Katherine for several years now, first in personal training and later in her regular fitness classes on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings. I decided to participate in Push Me because I felt like it was time for me to improve on what I had already learned from Katherine about fitness.

The small group class was outstanding. Katherine fostered a spirit of collaboration and support between the class members. She was able to give me the personalized attention I needed to learn how to do some exercises I already knew, better, plus incorporate some new exercises into my routine. Equally importantly, Katherine taught me that I can work smarter and stronger. She was consistently supportive when I felt frustrated and consistently positive when she encouraged me to do more than I thought I was capable of doing. Although the class was time limited, I will use what I learned every day and in every workout.

I look forward to taking Push Me again in the near future and to continuing my work with Katherine at UVAC."

Dena Testa Bray


Monday, June 13, 2016

Water Volleyball Basics



After running a water volleyball class for some time now, I have seen some interesting tactics take place.  First, let us start with ways of hitting the ball over. 

The most common is to throw it up with your non-dominant hand and smack it over; AKA ‘The Shannon.’  This brings up some challenges, however.  The biggest is that if you don’t get perfect back spin on the ball, it will go haywire on you!  Back spin helps the ball travel farther, just like in golf and baseball, and also helps keep it going straight.

Other ways of throwing the ball are the two handed overhead throw—just like you do in soccer—AKA ‘The Marylyn’.  You can also hit it over in the air with one hand as it is coming at you.  Lastly you can throw it over with one hand like a baseball.

Now, these are all the different ways of throwing the ball over, but perhaps the biggest thing is knowing when and where to throw the ball.  I have seen many games lost or won because the ball was placed perfectly (or not) at just the right time.  Some people pause to look around and see exactly where to place the ball on the other side—AKA ‘The Pat.’  This is great if the balls are flying around, but not great if the other team is about ready to hit the last ball on your side.

Also, given there are some big hitters in the game (and the occasional deep throw by yours truly) knowing how to throw the ball to the front is important too.  A lot of people will just turn and huck the balls as far forward as they can, many times landing the ball far from their teammates, thus giving the other team time to get their balls over the line for the win.  It is important to hit balls forward towards your teammates so they can get them over the line.

Lastly, there has been some ‘interesting’ play lately where players will hold on to the ball until someone on the other side of the line is about ready to hit the ball.  When the other person throws the ball up to hit it, the first person will knock it out of the air, keeping both balls on the other side—AKA ‘The Robert.’

Other good game play is throwing a ball out of bounds when you are about to lose.  This will keep the game going and gives your team a chance to regroup. 

All in all, Water Volleyball has been a fun and exciting class; and the game play has grown by leaps and bounds in recent months leading to exciting games.  Water Volleyball is on Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday at 11:30AM.  Hope to see you there!

by John Grainger
Fitness Coordinator and Experienced Personal Trainer

B.A. Biology, Keene State College
M.S. Exercise Physiology, University of Utah
Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist
Matter of Balance Master Trainer
NeuroKinetic Therapy Level 1

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Indoor Workouts for Outdoor Adventures

It’s official: Summer has arrived. The temperatures are creeping higher, the days are longer, and if you’re anything like me, you’re looking for every excuse under the sun to be, well, under the sun. It’s the season of working, playing, eating, and perhaps even sleeping outside, soaking up every second of the Upper Valley’s brief but beautiful summer. The urge to get outside is strong, and it certainly extends to our workouts. Before you take an extended vacation from the gym, though, it’s a good idea to think about how indoor exercise at UVAC can improve your time outdoors.
Case in point: hiking. One of my favorite ways to spend a summer day is on the trail, making steady progress toward a summit. The woods around me are saturated in green, the rich smell of soil is in the air, I hear the rush of a stream in the distance, and life is good. It’s hard work, though, climbing toward the top of a mountain, and as I make my ascent I know I’m going to feel it in my legs tomorrow. Hiking isn’t the sort of adventure you undertake without first building up your strength, and that’s where time in the gym really gives you a boost.

In preparation for my upcoming hiking season, I chatted with John Grainger, Fitness and Personal Training Director at UVAC. For trail enthusiasts like me, John suggests targeting the glutes, quads, hamstrings, and core muscles, with special emphasis on the first of these. Why are the glutes so important? John says that they’re the muscles working the hardest as we go uphill, and on the downhill, weak glutes can lead to some serious knee pain.

To beef up your glutes (and quads, and hamstrings), John recommends squats, step-ups, and lunges. Planks and shoulder bridges will develop your core muscles, and you’ll be on your way to stronger, more stable hiking. The great news is that UVAC offers multiple opportunities to incorporate these exercises into your workouts. From strength and core classes to weight machines and personal training sessions, there’s a good way for all the hikers among us to benefit from gym time.

I’m looking forward to some excellent days on the trail this summer, and with the right strength conditioning, I know I’ll enjoy them even more. Whatever your summer adventure(s) of choice — hiking, running, kayaking, paddleboarding, biking, rock climbing, open water swimming — maximize your outdoor time with the right indoor workout. Here’s to a safe, strong, and fun-filled season!

By Caitlin Birch — UVAC member; Canaan, NH resident; Digital Collections and Oral History Archivist at Dartmouth College

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

What Swimming Means to Me

Swimming is the love of my life in so many ways

Whether or not it is something that you may enjoy yourself

It has changed me and helped me grow

My life changed for the best that day -
I was only a ten year old girl and distinctly remember the love I first felt when I hit the water

My days at school had not been fun, for I, to them was a lost and wandering soul

I am thankful to the team I now consider home
They have taken me in as a little girl with few friends and created a new me, the one I am proud to be today.

I can finally say...

Joining the Upper Valley Aquatic Club was one of the best choices I have ever made. I will never forget the day I walked onto the pool deck and there they stood - 
with their arms reaching out and taking me in.

What a huge impact they made on that little girl.

The little girl today, now grown up as a teenager, sits at home typing about her gratefulness and how happy she is today. I have high hopes that someday, that little girl will be one of the people who can open her arms wide to the new arrivals and be as welcoming as they had once been to her.

By AJL - Happy UVAC Swim Team Member, Lifeguard and Swim Instructor

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Volunteer Spotlight: Marcia Knapp, Splash Camp Craft Assistant

VOLUNTEER: Marcia Knapp
Splash Camp Crafts Assistant

Marcia Knapp took many hours to create weaving looms for this February and April Vacation Splash Camp. She brings to her volunteer service a panache and energy for which we are truly thankful!

Marcia became a member at UVAC the day it opened and is one of our biggest fans.

She was a nurse at DHMC and a camp nurse for many years. She has lived in the Upper Valley for 35 years, is the mother of three and homeschooled all of her children.

Marcia started Classical Conversations in the Upper Valley, a Christian based classical liberal arts curriculum for homeschoolers and was instrumental in its expansion into other areas of VT, NH and ME. She has been active in teaching homeschool skiing over the years at Dartmouth Skiway, Whaleback and Sunapee.  Marcia is a lifelong amateur fitness enthusiast and enjoys hiking, biking and swimming.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

PALS For Life Changes Lives



The PALS For Life fall 2015 program at the Upper Valley Aquatic Center is coming to a close and I wanted to personally thank you for your generous support of this very worthwhile program. It has impacted my life as a cancer survivor in a very meaningful way.



I am blessed to be the wife of a loving husband, the mother of two and he grandmother of four adorable grandchildren. And for over thirty years I experienced the joy of being an elementary school teacher.



Cancer first entered my life twenty-four years ago, then again eight years ago, and most recently this past spring. Through out my journey with cancer, I have felt loved and supported by family and friends. In fact, it was one of those dear people who brought the PALS program to my attention and I am very grateful she did. It makes a difference in the lives of those who are fortunate enough to participate.



The twelve-week fall session has enhanced the lives of six dynamic women. It changed our lives not only physically, but mentally and emotionally as well. Physically we are all stronger and more confident in what our bodies are capable of doing. Mentally we better understand the importance of exercise and the role it plays in maintenance our health. Emotionally we have created a common bond of caring, support and friendship that will nurture us beyond the boundaries of this program. We are all moving forward!



The program you have helped fund has accomplished a great deal, but none of that would have happened without the guidance and dedication of our instructor, Erin Buck. Erin is the seventh member of our team. She is a dynamic young woman whose dedication to the program and its participants was obvious from the start. Her knowledge of current research and trends guide her practice and allows her to modify the program to meet our individual needs. Her positive attitude and warmth created the environment that allowed us to trust and try new things. She gently moved us forward to meet our goals. She went above and beyond to create a program that worked for everybody! She sincerely cared about us and we knew it!



I hope this letter has given you some insight into the program you have helped to create, the people who direct it, and those who benefit the most from it.

Sandy Acker - Norwich, VT