Drowning is the second leading cause of death for children ages 5 to 14, with children from communities of color at greatest risk. With National Water Safety Month in May and summer around the corner, now is a great time for parents to remember the importance equipping children with essential water safety skills. The Y offers swim programs that help reduce the risk of childhood drowning, develop a lifelong love swimming and provide children from underserved communities greater access to water safety programs.
Before letting your children hit the water this summer, remember these few tips to ensure it’s an enjoyable and safe experience.
1. Never swim alone. Teach your children that they should only swim in locations where a lifeguard is on duty.
2. Supervise your children whenever they’re in water. Whether it’s bath time or taking a dip in a pool or lake, make sure your children are within arm’s reach at all times.
3. Don’t engage in breath holding activities. Children shouldn’t hold their breath for a prolonged amount of time while swimming, as this can cause drowning and has several other severe physical side-effects.
4. Wear a Life Jacket: Inexperienced or non-swimmers should wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket.
5. Don’t jump in the water to save a friend who is struggling in deep water. If a child finds their friend in deep water unexpectedly, their natural reaction may be to jump in the water to try to save them. Even if a child is a great swimmer, a panicked person will overpower them, pulling them underwater with them. The Y’s Safety Around Water program teaches the “reach, throw, don’t go” concept of using a long object to reach for them and pull them to safety. By using this technique children can help their friend without compromising their own safety.
6. Enroll your children in water safety or swim lessons. Just like teaching your children to look both ways before they cross the street, participating in formal water safety lessons teaches them an important life skill. The Y’s swim lessons teach children fundamental water safety skills and what to do if they find themselves in water unexpectedly.
Learning how to swim also has multiple benefits beyond the ability to enjoy water safely. It helps children strive for physical achievement, promotes healthy living and builds their confidence.
Healthy Aging Tips for Older Americans Month
May is Older Americans Month, and as a leading nonprofit dedicated to improving the nation’s health, the Marshalltown YMCA-YWCA offers the following tips to encourage older adults in Central Iowa live healthier lives.
1. Have fun with your food. Eating healthy doesn’t have to be boring! Have fun with your fruits and vegetables by trying them fresh or frozen. Find a new recipe that uses a different source of protein or find a way to incorporate fish or beans into an old favorite. Remember as you age, it’s important to eat a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat or fat-free dairy and lean meats to help your body get the necessary nutrients.
2. Fill up on fiber and potassium, hold the salt. As you age, your body needs more fiber rich foods to help it stay regular. Aim for a variety of colorful foods on your plate (i.e. fruits and veggies) to keep fiber rich foods a part of your diet. Additionally, increasing potassium along with reducing sodium or salt may lower your risk of high blood pressure. Fruits, vegetables and low-fat or fat-free milk and yogurt are good sources of potassium.
3. Get Active. Physical activity is safe for almost everyone, and the health benefits far outweigh the risks. Regular physical activity is one of the most important things older adults can do for their health. It can prevent many of the health problems that seem to come with age (such as osteoporosis and arthritis) and reduce the risk for developing, or help manage, depression, diabetes, heart disease, stroke and certain kinds of cancers. For older adults who have chronic conditions that hinder their ability to be active on a regular basis, some physical activity is better than none, and older adults who participant in any amount of physical activity gain some health benefits.
4. Tweak your routine. To get the recommended 30 minutes of daily physical activity, change your routine to 10-minute sessions throughout the day. For example, stand on one foot while brushing your teeth to increase balance, and do squats while washing dishes to increase strength. Make sure you can grab hold of something to maintain balance—safety first! To increase your cardio, take the stairs instead of the elevator or park farther from the entrance to work. When sitting in front of the TV, march during commercials or do some light stretching to break up sitting for long periods.
5. Get social. Socialization is an important part of aging. As we get older, it’s important to be active socially to stay healthy. Take a walk with a friend or a neighbor, join a book club or volunteer at your local pet shelter or local Y. Social interaction provides meaningful engagement, builds relationships, enhances a sense of belonging and provides opportunities for involvement—all resulting in greater bonds and a stronger sense of community. Being connected to the community keeps you healthy!
For more information on how your family can live a healthy, active life, visit the Marshalltown YMCA-YWCA.
Research shows that getting more active and changing our sedentary habits is one of the most effective ways to prevent or delay type 2 diabetes. That’s why the Marshalltown YMCA-YWCA is joining the American Diabetes Association’s third annual National Get Fit Don’t Sit Day on May 2nd.
This day is all about recognizing the importance of getting up and moving throughout the day as an important part of a healthy lifestyle. In fact, the ADA recommends that everyone get up and move at least every 30 minutes.
Click the links below for more ideas:
Last Fall, the Marshalltown YMCA-YWCA revised its swim lessons to increase the accessibility and enjoyment of swimming to all ages and skill levels. The latest evolution of Y Swim Lessons accommodates varying abilities to help foster a sense of achievement as swimmers’ progress between levels. Through this approach, advanced swimmers flow more easily to higher levels while swimmers who need more instruction can learn at their own pace. This results in more confident swimmers who stick with lessons and develop a love for swimming that can last a lifetime.
“The community has responded very positively to our new curriculum,” said Shelley Lechnir, Aquatics Director at the Marshalltown Y. “We have been adding classes to the schedule in order to meet the demand for participation.”
Spring Session classes at the Y begin Monday, April 2nd. Registration opens March 26th.
There are three general categories of Y Swim Lessons:
- Swim Starters develops water enrichment and aquatic readiness in children ages 6 months to 3 years.
- Swim Basics develops personal water safety and basic swimming skills in students of all ages.
- Swim Strokes introduces and refines stroke technique for experienced students.
Families interested in learning more about Y swim lessons and water safety classes should visit www.ymca-ywca.org or call 641-752-8658.
About the Y
As a non-profit organization, the Marshalltown YMCA-YWCA strengthens the community through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. The Y aims to nurture the potential of children and teens and is dedicated to eliminating racism, empowering women and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all.
Marshalltown YMCA-YWCA Blue Wave Swim Team members Averie Wittkop and Stephen Blom were chosen to the 2018 All-Star Team.
All-Star Team members are committed to YOUTH DEVELOPMENT – positive role model, HEALTHY LIVING – taking an active role in a lifelong sport and SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY – giving back and supporting others in their community. They have shown dedication to YMCA Swimming and great sportsmanship to all those around them.
State Meet Information:
Linda Bloom Natatorium at the Marshalltown YMCA-YWCA
Boys meet Saturday, March 3rd, 10:00 a.m.
Girls meet Sunday, March 4th, 10:00 a.m.
Admission is FREE - come by to cheer on the swimmers!
Marshalltown YMCA-YWCA Building Closure Information
- Gym will close at 7:00 p.m. on Friday, March 2nd and will remain closed all weekend
- Lap Pool and Rec Pool closed all day, March 3rd & 4th
February is American Heart Month, and as a leading community-based organization dedicated to improving the nation’s health, the Marshalltown YMCA-YWCA offers the following tips from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to help families in Central Iowa reduce the amount of sodium in their diet.
- Think fresh: Most of the sodium Americans eat is found in processed foods. Eat highly processed foods less often and in smaller portions—especially cheesy foods, such as pizza; cured meats, such as bacon, sausage, hot dogs, and deli/luncheon meats; as well as ready-to-eat foods, like canned chili, ravioli and soups. Fresh foods are generally lower in sodium.
- Enjoy home-prepared foods: Cook more often at home—where you are in control of what’s in your food. Preparing your own foods allows you to limit the amount of salt in them.
- Fill up on veggies and fruits—they are naturally low in sodium: Eat plenty of vegetables and fruits—fresh or frozen. Eat a vegetable or fruit at every meal.
- Adjust your taste buds: Cut back on salt little by little—and pay attention to the natural tastes of various foods. Your taste for salt may lessen over time. Additionally, keep salt off the kitchen counter and the dinner table and substitute spices, herbs, garlic, vinegar or lemon juice to season foods.
- Boost your potassium intake: Choose foods with potassium, which may help to lower your blood pressure. Potassium is found in vegetables and fruits, such as potatoes, beet greens, tomato juice and sauce, sweet potatoes, beans (white, lima, kidney), and bananas. Other sources of potassium include yogurt, clams, halibut, orange juice and milk.
Classes: Aqualates, Senior aqua, moving & stretching, preschool swim lessons
Hobbies and Interests: Gardening (flowers & veggies), stampin’ up (making cards), sewing, reading, watching birds at the bird-feeder.
Favorite Thing About Being an Instructor:
Adult Instructor: being able to help others get stronger, helping those with similar physical issues (fibro arthritis), realize that they’re not alone; supporting one another and making new friends.
Kid Instructor: watching them go from not being to swim to swimming by themselves, seeing their face light up when they accomplish a task and the way they make me laugh. I love to listen to them talk and tell me their stories.
Fun Fact: I have four kids; two boys and twin girls, two cats and a dog. I was raised in Denver, CO. I love dark chocolate and sci-fi books and movies.