March 2020

Spirit Mind Body Wellness Tips

During this time of uncertainty and anxiety, the Y hopes to provide positive, helpful information about how to stay healthy and well. Ideas from YMCA of the USA: 

  1. Take a break from the news. Constantly watching, listening to or reading news stories and social media may exacerbate you or your family members’ stress and anxiety. Be sure to disconnect from time to time.

  2. Sing Your Heart Out! It strengthens your immune system, is a natural antidepressant, lowers stress, and is an added form of entertainment for the whole household. For young people who have had theater events cancelled, consider posting your best performance yet using 

  3. Check in with your children. Children need reassurance from grown-ups during periods of high stress and anxiety. For tips about how to talk with your kids about COVID-19, check out this information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

  4. Don’t minimize the power of routines. As we adapt to new ways of living during the temporary quarantine, assess, adapt and/or test a routine that fosters strong mental wellness:

  5. Have you laughed today? Whether it’s a funny joke or image, according to the Mayo Clinic, laughing stimulates organs, activates and relieves the stress response, and reduces tension. Tell us what made you laugh today!

  6. Adopt an attitude of gratitude. Begin identifying and sharing (with your family, friends, or via social media) things for which you are grateful daily. People are craving positivity right now, and you can be a source!

  7. Moments of gratitude. To build in time daily for positive recognition, decorate a jar or box and invite all members of the household to write down moments they are grateful for throughout the day. At scheduled or random intervals, choose one or more to read out loud. What are you grateful for today?

  8. Fight stress. The American Heart Association recommends these 10 healthy behaviors that you can adopt to combat stress:

  9. Maintain community. People who live alone may be struggling due to self-quarantines. Make an extra effort to reach out via phone or video calls to let someone know you’re there for them, even if you can’t be together. Use Google Hangouts to “grab coffee” with friends or download Netflix Party (a Chrome extension) to watch a movie with someone!

  10. Send seniors love. Our senior friends may be feeling especially vulnerable right now. Reach out to them and ask them how they’re doing!

  11. Support small businesses. You may be worrying about the small businesses in your community right now. Help them by purchasing gift certificates over the phone or internet to be used later.

  12. Practice Both/And Statements. Our Y is *both* grateful for the outpouring of support and generosity of the community and missing all the moments for connectivity. What are your Both/And statements for the coronavirus?

My Y Story - Sue Garrels

Sue Garrels is a longtime Y member, a retired special ED teacher, a mother, a grandmother, and a cancer survivor. She was diagnosed with Lymphoma in August of 2018 and after bouts of chemo began remission in December of 2019. She emphasized that she was in no way alone in her process of recovery. When she finished treatment, she went back to the Y and happened to walk by a group exercise class where she saw an old friend who invited her in. After going to the class for a few weeks, Sue realized that many of the women in the class were fellow cancer survivors. Sue says this group of women provided her with “an unbelievable support system” that helped her through her recovery. One class, amid aerobic exercise, Sue was struggling to keep her head wrap on and her friend said “Sue, just take it off.” Sue says she took her head wrap off and felt liberated. It was the first time she had exposed her “very, very short hair.” In this group of women, she found solidarity and compassion that guided her through her recovery. 

Along with group classes, Sue has engaged with many other programs at the Y that have enriched her life. Last September, Sue and her husband got involved in LiveStrong program. Here, she built yet another network of people had experienced or were experiencing cancer. She said the people in class were anywhere from remission to stage 4. Sue emphasized the wholistic nature of the LiveStrong program. She said they took Tai chi, aquatic strength, yoga, enhanced fitness and strength training classes. They were also given the opportunity to meet with a nutritionist. 

Throughout the interview, Sue raved about the staff at the Y. She explained that, “The Y in Marshalltown is exceptional. The individuals who work there always greet you with a smile, whether it’s the people that check you in or the people that are teaching your classes or if it is the people that are maintaining the equipment. It’s just amazing. The whole staff has a purpose for being there and that is to improve the community’s physical and emotional health.” 

Sue emphasized that the community she found at the Y supported her through her own cancer journey and allowed her to reach out to other cancer survivors. In her gentle and brave voice, Sue said  

“My cancer turned out to be a blessing. I’ve always reached out to individuals but this experience has given me the opportunity to reach out to even more people.”  

Before going our separate ways, Sue said she had one more story to tell: 

“In May of 2018, before I knew I had cancer, I stopped at a gift shop after visiting my parent’s grave. While shopping around, I saw a plaque that said ‘Find Joy in the journey.’ I did not yet know what that journey would be, but four months later I found out that my journey was going through cancer and reaching out to others going through the same experience.” 

At-Home Workouts

At-home workouts using bodyweight are a great option when you can't make it to the Y.  We're sharing a few examples here and will share more in the coming days.  If you have any questions, feel free to contact Angie Paxson, Health & Wellness Director at

Here are 5 workouts to get you started:

1. “Tabata Whatever”  (source:

Choose 5 home-friendly exercises.  For each of the exercises, perform max reps for 8 consecutive Tabata intervals of 20 seconds of work followed by 10 seconds of rest. Rest 1 minute between exercises.

Tabata Row - Rest 1 Minute​
Tabata Squats - Rest 1 Minute​
Tabata Pull-ups - Rest 1 Minute​
Tabata Push-ups - Rest 1 Minute​
Tabata Sit-ups

Tabata score is the least number of reps performed in any of the eight intervals. Unit for the row is “calories”. Post lowest Tabata score for each exercise and total for final score as Total Reps. E.G., 10, 20, 5, 10, 15 = 60

2. “Murph”  (source:

For time, replace Pullups with a novel exercise if necessary.

  • 1 mile run
  • 100 pullups
  • 200 pushups
  • 300 squats
  • 1 mile run

3. “Griff”Run 800m  (source:

Run 400m backward
Run 800m
Run 400m backward

4.  2 rounds:  (source:

Max pushups 2:00
Max situps 2:00
Max flutterkicks 2:00
Max squats 2:00

5. 5 rounds of:   (source:

10 burpees
20 box/bench jumps
30 pushups
40 squats
50 lunges

Looking for more ideas?  Check out the "Top 25 At-Home Exercises" from Ace Fitness

MOSSA On Demand

MOSSA gives you the highest quality workouts anytime, anywhere. With decades of experience developing professional fitness programs, MOSSA's team delivers workouts that guarantee results for everyone from brand new exercisers to serious athletes. The MOSSA Team designs each workout with options and modifications so you can choose the intensity and challenge that are just right for you. Try every workout you want and select your favorites to create your own personalized fitness playlist. Combine cardio and strength programs to maximize results! Work out from the comfort of your own home – on your TV, on your computer, or download the app and take your workouts wherever you go.​

Click here to register your account.  Create your account access online workout videos.  Note:  A credit card is needed to create an account.  You may cancel at any time.



Keeping Our Y Healthy

Update 5/14/21: Masks are optional for Y members and guests.



  1. Adult members will be asked to complete a COVID-19 Waiver upon entering your first time back at the Y.  Youth members under age 18 without a parent must bring a signed COVID-19 Waiver before entering the facility.  Click here to download waiver.  Haga clic aquí para descargar la exención en español.

  2. Children must be 8 or older may use the Y without adult supervision, unless noted otherwise.  Children 7 and younger must either be under the direct supervision of a parent or a responsible person age 14 years or older.  *COVID-19 Waiver is required for entry.

  3. Courtesy towel service will not be provided.


  • Click here for facility hours.
  • Adult members will be asked to complete a COVID-19 Waiver upon entering your first time back at the Y.  Youth members under age 18 without a parent must bring a signed COVID-19 Waiver before entering the facility.  Click here to download waiver.
  • Children age 8 or older may use the Y without adult supervision, unless noted otherwise.  Children 7 and younger must be under the direct supervision of a parent or a responsible person age 14 years or older.  *COVID-19 Waiver is required for entry.
  • Marshalltown YMCA-YWCA members, Nationwide YMCA members, Guest Pass, Day Pass and Punch Card all allowed.  
  • Members should bring their Y key tag and self-scan at the Welcome Desk.


  • Internal doors will be left open to prevent unnecessary touching and increase ventilation.
  • Staff will conduct regular cleaning & disinfecting of high-touch surfaces and equipment throughout the day.
  • We have added hand sanitizing stations and are requiring all members to clean ALL equipment BEFORE and AFTER use.
  • Increased signage throughout the building to indicate directional flow, encourage social distancing, handwashing and promote cleaning efforts.
  • Courtesy towel service will not be provided.


  • Program-specific guidelines will be outlined on program flyers & schedules.

Please review all of the information provided here, as well as the other resources provided in this document. If you still have other questions not answered in our communications, contact Nicki Reynolds, Member Services Director at

THANK YOU for supporting our efforts as we work to combat this pandemic together. The Y is so much more than just a fitness facility, pool or place to workout. We are a community, and we will do everything we can to move past this historical event to better serve you and your family.




Keeping Our Y Healthy

March 11, 2020

A Message to Parents & Guardians,

The Marshalltown YMCA-YMCA is committed to providing a safe and enjoyable experience for everyone who enters our doors. There are growing concerns about the potential spread of coronavirus, and in an effort to keep you and your family healthy and prevent the spread of germs, we are sharing some important information.

Our Y is regularly cleaned by Y staff and special care is taken to meet quality standards in place year-round that keep our facility clean and safe.  We are increasing our efforts to further prevent the spread of germs and viruses.  Examples included, but are not limited to:

Standard Procedure


Increased Efforts

Youth must wash hands before eating and after activities.

Youth and adults must wash/sanitize hands upon arrival to the Y.

Toys & balls are sanitized weekly.

A limited number of toys & balls will be available and sanitized daily.

Preschool sleeping mats washed monthly.

Preschool sleeping mats washed weekly.

All surfaces are cleaned daily with sanitizing spray.

Surfaces are cleaned multiple times daily with sanitizing spray.


Health Policies for Children

We ask for your cooperation in keeping our programs healthy for all children.  Per our parent & member handbook, and DHS licensing requirements, please follow the guidelines listed below.  Y staff members will assess the health of children and contact parents if an illness is suspected.


Health Policies

(Please note this is an abbreviated list of policies. Please see complete guidelines in the Parent Handbook.)  In order to protect all children, established guidelines are in place for illness procedures. If staff determine a child is sick or contagious, the child will not be able to attend Y Preschool, Fit Kids or Child Care. Upon parent notification that a child is ill, please expect to pick up immediately (Child Care) or within 45 minutes (Preschool or Fit Kids).

Fever Criteria

If your child has a fever (viral or communicable cause), you will be called to come and pick up your child. Before your child can return to the Y, they must be fever free (without the aid of medication) for 24 hours.

Exclusion Policy

If a child will not be attending Preschool or Fit Kids for any reason, please inform teachers as soon as possible. If a child has an illness listed below, please do not send him/her to the Y. Children who exhibit the following symptoms will be sent home upon becoming ill during the day. Children will be excluded if unable to fully participate in activities or require greater individual care than staff can provide.

Sudden Illness

Some signs or symptoms of illness may indicate a serious illness and should be evaluated by a medical professional:

•        Lethargy that is more than expected tiredness

•        Uncontrollable coughing

•        Unexplained irritability or persistent crying

•        Difficult breathing

•        Wheezing

•        Other unusual signs for child


Thank you for your cooperation in keeping our community safe. 

Carol Hibbs             Ashley Nelson         Deb Grove

CEO                        Youth Director        Family Sports / Fit Kids Director


Marshalltown YMCA-YWCA

108 Washington Street

Marshalltown, IA  50158