DUNMORE, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — June is National Alzheimer’s and Brain Health Awareness Month. Worldwide, more than 55 million people are living with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia.

Studies show that physical activity reduces the risk of cognitive decline. The Greater Scranton YMCA is promoting the importance of exercise for people of all ages.

A little bit of activity can go a long way in helping improve brain health. That’s the message the Greater Scranton YMCA is sharing during Alzheimer’s and Brain Health Awareness Month.

“If you’re not up and moving both your muscles and your mind, you are on that decline. If you have a sedentary lifestyle and you’re sitting still and not exercising, your joints begin to go, your muscles begin to get weaker, same with your mind. If you’re not using your mind, you’re losing your mind,” said Brandon Whipple, Senior Program Director at Greater Scranton YMCA.

The YMCA was awarded a grant to launch its well-being initiative. With an emphasis on both mental and physical health, the YMCA offers a wide range of programs for all ages.

“We do everything from sound therapy, we’re doing different yoga classes, breathing yoga, so there’s a bunch of things that fall under that initiative. It’s free for everyone, it’s open to the community, you do not need to be a member to take part in that,” Whipple added.

Many of the exercise enthusiasts Eyewitness News spoke to at the YMCA say that working out is therapeutic

“I always feel better when I move a little bit more, I love working out and I can tell my mental health is always on a higher level when I workout as opposed to when I’m not doing as much,” said Gianna Ragnacci of Dunmore.

It’s never too late to begin your health and wellness journey. The YMCA offers scholarships and financial aid to allow everyone in the community to sign up.

“I think being active every day, even if you get 30 minutes to do some steady cardio in, the ‘Y’ has a bunch of classes to take from all levels, you don’t have to be experienced, from cycling classes to pilates, they have a pool. It’s pretty hot out to go for a run right now so using the treadmill inside, even walking on a slow pace will help in the long run,” explained Ragnacci.

The YMCA has served as a leading nonprofit and is committed to strengthening the community for more than 175 years.

Visit the website to learn more about the programs offered at the Greater Scranton YMCA.