Working Out on a Budget

By Nathaniel Sillin

It’s true–good health really does save money.

A Towers Watson survey noted that employee wellness programs saved employers an average of $100 in health care costs per worker. So if you’re going to get healthy, do it the smart way and make well-researched spending decisions throughout the year. Here are a few tips at the starting line.

Do a little heavy lifting with your budget first. Whatever your goals, check your overall finances to see what bad health behaviors might be costing you now in terms of immediate everyday costs or long-term impact on medical bills. You might find that a successful fitness plan can return hundreds of dollars–and possibly thousands–to your budget.

swimPick a workout you like. If you loved swimming or jogging as a kid, such sports might be a good place to restart your fitness regimen. Restart your fitness habits modestly but consistently with activities you like. If they require a facility, test it out for a few days to comparison-shop. If they’re offering specials, read the fine print carefully and try to stay away from long-term membership commitments if you can.


Don’t overlook your community. Check out taxpayer-supported facilities and activities you’re already paying for in your community to see what they offer. Community centers are great resources for inexpensive or free classes. You might be surprised how many free public tennis courts, swimming facilities and other recreational spaces are available in your city or town. Also take advantage of any regional, state or national parks that are near you. There’s no greater motivation to stay active than getting outside.

workout-buddyFind buddies. You’ve seen them when walking or driving past a park or other locations around town–people who run together, walk together or dance together. Joining a fitness group doesn’t have to cost any money at all; you might make new friends and you’ll hopefully challenge and keep each other motivated.

You don’t need all the latest gear. Unless you need specific clothes or equipment for protection or safety, raid your closet to save on your fitness plan. Keep it cheap and focus on improving your health. Consider setting workout milestones and reward yourself with a new purchase after hitting your goals.

Adjust your commute. If you have access to public transportation, take the bus or train more often–you’ll automatically walk more to and from your destinations. If you do drive, park at the farthest end of the lot to add a short, cost-free workout into your daily schedule.

Prepare your own meals. Working out is important to getting healthy, but eating properly can help you achieve results faster. One of the most effective ways to improve a diet–and save money while doing it–is resolving to prepare more meals at home. Also, commit to selecting more healthful options whether you are at home or dining out. There are almost limitless resources in libraries and online to learn about quick, healthy food preparation and smart food shopping.

Bottom line: Working out on a budget doesn’t always require added expenses. There are many inexpensive or free options to meet both health and financial goals in your neighborhood, at work and many other places.


YMCA hosts 25th annual Healthy Kids Day

YMCAThe Greater Scranton YMCA is holding a free community event to inspire more kids to keep their minds and bodies active on Saturday, April 30, at their facility, 706 N. Blakely St., Dunmore, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

This year marks the 25th annual YMCA’s Healthy Kids Day®, the Y’s national initiative to improve health and well-being for kids and families.  The day-long event features activities such as: Kids’ Fun Run (starts at 9:30am), Extreme Laser Tag, Zip Line, Petting Zoo, Face Painting, Train Rides, Health Fair, Entertainment and much more!

YMCA’s Healthy Kids Day, celebrated at over 1,300 Ys across the country by over 1.2 million participants, works to get more kids moving and learning, creating habits that they continue all summer long, which is a critical time for kids’ health. When kids are out of school, they can face hurdles that prevent them from reaching their full potential. Research shows that without access to out-of-school physical and learning activities, kids fall behind academically. Kids also gain weight twice as fast during summer than the school year. As spring turns to summer, Healthy Kids Day is a powerful reminder not to let children idle away their summer days. Instead, the Y hopes to focus on wowing them with their potential and make this their best summer ever by staying active and learning.

“The Y believes in the potential of all children, and we strive to help kids find the Wow! factor inside themselves. A child’s development is never on vacation and Healthy Kids Day is a great opportunity to educate families and motivate kids to stay active in spirit, mind and body throughout the summer,” said Meghan Carnevale, Mission Advancement & Marketing Director, Greater Scranton & Wilkes-Barre Family YMCAs.


Photo Credit: YMCA/Facebook

In celebration of YMCA’s Healthy Kids Day, the Y offers the following tips to help families develop healthy habits:

High Five the Fruits and Veggies – Make sure kids get at least five servings a day, the minimum number nutritionists recommend to maintain healthy childhood development. And to keep kids’ taste buds evolving, have everyone in the family try at least one bite of a new fruit or vegetable at least once a month.

Foster an Early and Ongoing Passion for Books – Read to and with your kids. Help children read at every age and every stage of their development.

Team Up for Athletic Events – Set a family goal of great health by teaming up for community or charity events like races, walks, fun runs, bike rides, etc.

Volunteer Together – Find a cause that matters to the kids. Open their eyes to a world beyond themselves and the rich rewards that come from making a difference.

Make sleep a priority – Doctors recommend 10-12 hours of sleep a day for children ages 5-12 and 7-8 hours per night for adults. Sleep plays a critical role in maintaining our healthy immune system, metabolism, mood, memory, learning and other vital functions.

The Greater Scranton YMCA’s 2016 Healthy Kids Day event is generously sponsored by: Wells Fargo Foundation, Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield, LifeFitness, Community Bank, N.A., Gertrude Hawk Chocolates, NovaCare Rehabilitation, PDQ Print Center, Quadrant Engineering Plastic Products, Rainey & Rainey CPAs, Fidelity Bank, Tech 42 and H&J Vending.

For more information, contact the Greater Scranton YMCA at (570) 342-8115 or visit


Doin’ Dumore

By Steve Svetovich

It is time for the annual New Year’s wish list which now enters its 25th consecutive year:

adrianA reduction in high priced concert tickets to see artists such as The Rolling Stones and Bruce Springsteen…The Beach Boys back with Brian Wilson…a new CD from The Who…crumb cake from Cwikla’s Bakery in Avoca…a German brownie from Minooka Bake Shop…a special place in Heaven for Sister Adrian Barrett…Nardozzi’s Pizza loaded with pepperoni in Dunmore…Ken Griffey, Jr.; Trevor Hoffman, Allan Trammell, Curt Schilling, Fred “The Crime Dog” McGriff, Edgar Martinez, Jeff Kent, Big Lee Smith, Jim Edmonds, Mike Mussina and Tim Raines in the National Baseball Hall of Fame…Ken “The Snake” Stabler, Ken Anderson, Andre Reed, Bob Kuchenberg, Marvin Harrison, Terrell Davis and Kurt Warner in the Pro Football Hall of Fame…Jimmy Connors singing Johnny B. Goode with The Fortunes…Bob Dylan back at Montage…Shania Twain anywhere…a Dunkin Donuts in Forest City…

Another book and continued recovery from a health setback for Dunmore’s Guy Valvano…a visit to Tim Wagner’s sporting goods in Green Ridge…a Hank’s hoagie in Green Ridge…good health for Dunmore mayor Patrick ‘Nibs” Loughney and his wife, Donna…good health for Dunmorean owners and publishers John and Maureen Hart…a special place in Heaven for former Dunmore community activists Addie Michalek and Carmel Arnone…a trip to Point Pleasant, mick jaggerNew Jersey…a night at The Stone Pony in Asbury Park, New Jersey…breakfast at Sonny’s Restaurant in West Scranton…Mick Jagger singing Satisfaction at 74…Keith Richards alive at 74…Rod Stewart doing back flips, kicking soccer backs and croning for the ladies at 73…just one more performance from Gene Guarilia and the Cadillacs…a trip to Yankee Stadium with with my boys Dylan and Ryan and great friends Jim and Jake Decker…Alysa Milano anywhere…The Wannabees at Kilcoyne’s in West Scranton…a Rolling Stones and Beatles station on Sirius-XM Radio…a Sirius-XM radio in every vehicle…summer nights at the Waldorf Tiki Bar in East Mountain…Jorge Posada back in Yankee pinstripes as a coach…Sam the Greek’s rice pudding straight from Greece…a recovery to the economy in Greece…a cruise to the Greek islands…Cher…more financial support for the Dunmore Community Center and its senior programs…a large decrease in potholes in the city of Scranton…reimbursement to drivers who ruin their cars and tires due to the large number of massive potholes…lower real estate property taxes…a reduction in the Scranton wage tax…lower garbage fees in Scranton…pasta at Rossi’s in Archbald…Joe Tomko back in politics…

giantsChris DiMatteo singing Sinatra…a return to the playoffs for the New York Giants next year for Dunmore Councilman Paul Nardozzi…less real life desperate housewives…less desperate husbands…a decrease in the alarming divorce rate…a decrease in sewer bills…clean water…breakfast at Marie’s Diner in Old Forge…Nicholas Pizza in Green Ridge…Terri Hatcher…the New York Yankees back in the World Series…Bob Barker back on The Price is Right…Bob Barker in another Adam Sandler movie…Happy Days reruns…a Brunetti’s hoagie in Green Ridge…Mike Brunetti’s chilli…My dad’s chilli…good health to South Scranton’s Bill Hoppel who always looks at the bottle as half full…another solid season for New York Mets fan Steve Gall…another solid season from Mets pitcher Bartolo Colon at 43…more of Pete Rose on Fox baseball broadcasts…a chilli burger from Carbondale’s Carawana Diner…a Texas wiener from Keystone Lunch in West Scranton…Starbucks coffee…Nina’s wing bites in Dunmore…

Taylor Swift at Montage…the Cincinnati Bengals in and winning the Super Bowl…more band jobs for my dad, the leader of The Fabulous Fortunes…soup and salad from the Olive Garden…Ringo and his All-Star Band…continued faithful work in the prisons from West Scranton pastor mcgloinTom Duggan…Tim Tebow back in the NFL…a starting NFL quarterback job for West Scranton’s Matt McGloin…Maroni’s Pizza with anchovies in West Scranton…a Subway hoagie for my son Dylan…a Red Robin chocolate malt for my son Ryan…a gyro and chicken platter from Crown Chicken in South Scranton…Rob Dibble, the Nasty Boy, back on talk baseball radio…a slice of pizza or any hoagie from Antonio’s Pizza in Pittston…a stop to the large yearly increases in health care insurance…an end to Obama Care…health care coverage that is really affordable…Good health to my good friend Maureen Bennett Reggie, R.N….wings at Zaleski’s in South Scranton…a chocolate cream pie from Minooka Bake Shop…a Blue Moon draft beer…

kobeA nice finish for Kobe Bryant…another NBA MVP for Stephen Curry…a continued resurgence for the New York Knicks..Crown Pizza in Dunmore…peanut sticks back at Krispy Kreme…good health to my good Dunmore friends Gary and Lynne Duncan…good health for my late mom’s best friend Annette…Jimmy Tigue on keyboards…Roger Finnerty on guitar…Jack Meade on sax…Tom Gavern on guitar…Vince Parise on vocals…my dad on drums…my son Ryan on drums…Gene Dempsey performing with his orchestra at 90…Cookie’s Travelers back in full swing…good health to the Burne family in Dunmore…more honest politicians like Senator Bob Casey, Jr….Bill Woelkers back with The Fortunes one more time…Art Stanton on sax and Johnny Cognetti on guitar once more…a comeback from Peckville sax player Chuck Morris…wings from Mickey Gannon’s in Green Ridge…

coppersBarbara Eden in a Jeannie bottle…more of Tina Fey…my dad’s pizza…more education on autism…more rights and advocacy in the school system for autistic children, many who are brilliant…a Texas Wiener from Coney Island…less taxes…lower insurance bills…a zero tolerance on domestic violence…less DUIs…a strawberry frosty at Wendy’s…Eva Longoria…Maryland crab bisque soup from Cooper’s…my dad’s Greek spinach pie (spinakopeta)…good health for my Aunt Stella…a return to health for my cousin Chester, an avid local sports fan stricken with cancer…people with cmanners…less tattoos (sorry tattoo lovers)…a slice of pizza from M-6 Deli in Olyphant…a Pappas Pizza grinder…Bob Weir and Rat Dog back at the Kirby Center…a texas wiener from McIlwee’s in North Scranton…my friends and I singing Thunder Road…zero tolerance on animal cruelty…

barrettThe New York Yankees officially retiring Paul O’Neill’s number…Bernie Williams strumming guitar…Derek Jeter back in baseball as an owner…a special place in Heaven for West Scranton’s Rebecca Barrett who fought a courageous battle with cancer…a day in Hawley during Winterfest…chicken strips with rice from Roberto’s Pizza in West Scranton…Suzanne Somers…a return to health for former West Scranton baseball player Nick Ivanoff…an interview with Pete Rose…clean air…less congestion…no road rage…polite people…breakfast with my sons Dylan and Ryan at Neen’s Diner in North Scranton…more music from Cat Stevens…Jim Croce in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame…a concert performance from Carly Simon…success for the Dunmore Freedom Baseball League (formerly CSBL) at Dunmore’s Sherwood Park…

henzesMore teams and recognition for the Dunmore Freedom League…another strong playoff run for the exciting world champion Kansas City Royals…a Jimmy Buffett concert…D.J. Jason Miller spinning discs…A few more years at the helm from Dunmore legendary football coach Jack Henzes…a softball diamond in Heaven for X.E. McAndrew…a return to health for local DJ Johnny Superstar…More good people like Gary DiBileo…Neil Young back at Montage…a a Springsteen concert anywhere…a home someday soon in Dunmore…more success on the drums, piano and guitar and some gigs for my son Ryan, my favorite musician…more success on the baseball diamond and for someone to take notice of my son Dylan, my favorite center fielder…a trip with my boys to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York…

Cloud-HeavenGood health and happiness to my sister Denise who always reminded me of Mallory from Family Ties…success in basketball and softball to my niece Alyvia…success in cheerleading to my niece and Godchild Mia…success in Little League baseball to my nephew George…health to my brother George and his wife Maria…a special place in Heaven for my sister-in-law’s brother Nick Stelmak who died at 43…health and happiness for my dad…a special place in Heaven for my late in-laws, John and Elva Hoffman…a special place in Heaven for my Uncles Art, Wally and Gus…a kiss to my grandmothers in Heaven…a most special place in Heaven for my wonderful mom who always taught me to take a chance…health, happiness and love to my sons Dylan and Ryan…

No war…Peace and quiet… For everyone to take the time to smell the roses and enjoy the simple things in life. 

Life is short. Happy New Year, everyone.