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Daryl Byrne of Norfolk, Conn., is leading hikes to some of the most scenic peaks in the region this winter, including this one on the Mattatuck Trail. Photo courtesy Daryl Byrne​

A Chance To Get Outside and Exercise — or Stay Indoors!


As we come to the end of almost a full year in quarantine, with concerns that the new COVID-19 variant is even more contagious than the original, it seems likely that we will not be going to the gym anytime soon.

And of course it’s winter now, so many people have stopped hiking for the season.  But some people actually like to hike in snow. If they do, they can sign up for outdoor serious walking with Daryl Byrne from Norfolk, Conn., whose vigorous outings always include a scenic view. 

Byrne is a former  Corpsman with the U.S. Navy and a retired firefighter/paramedic for the University of Connecticut so you don’t have to worry about twisting your ankle on an icy trail and not being able to get home safely. 

His  hikes are organized through the YMCA at Geer Village (NWCT YMCA); members can sign up through the Y’s motionvibe website and nonmembers can take part by calling member services at 860-824-2790 and paying an $11 per hike fee. 

The hikes are scheduled for 11 a.m. every other Sunday and on the third Wednesday of each month. 

A variety of hikes is offered, graded by difficulty and distance. Details are posted on the YMCA motionvibe website. Call member services for information. If you’d like to suggest a trail or get detailed information on how you should dress, what you should bring or how long you should expect to be outdoors, leave a message at the Y and Byrne will return your call (YMCA members can use motionvibe app to message him directly).

If you’re more of an indoor exerciser, as I am, you probably know that there are a million online fitness classes,, some of which are very good. 

The YMCA also has online classes. I learned recently that my college offers free virtual exercise classes for alumni. They’re live, which is kind of good because in theory that will force me to actually “show up,” in every sense. 

I would have liked to test out some of the online classes and offer tips on which ones seem the best — but of course I can’t because they’re only open to alumni. Contact your college’s alumni association, or do an internet search for “free alumni online exercise” and the name sof your college, and see what they have. 

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