According to research, *4 out of 10 cancer cases in the United States are associated with preventable risk factors. Excess body weight, poor diet and physical inactivity are factors that contribute to increased cancer risk. For National Cancer Prevention Month, the Y believes a healthy lifestyle can start at any age - and we're here to help! We've used the following recommendations from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to share the suggested minimum physical activity levels per age group, along with our dedicated Y classes or programs that can help you get started.** No matter where you are on your health and wellness journey, the Shiawassee Family YMCA is here for you every step of the way!
For preschool-age children, it is recommended that they participate in physical activity throughout the day to enhance growth and development. Three hours per day of activity of all intensities is suggested.
The Shiawassee Family YMCA offers a variety of youth sports programs for children including Itty Bitty Soccer, Zumbini, Gymnastics, and Basketball. More information on programs for preschool-age children can be found on our Program Page.
School-Age Children and Adolescents
For school-age children and adolescents, 60 minutes or more of physical activity should be conducted each day. Muscle and bone-strengthening exercises, such as push-ups, should be performed at least three days per week.
Not only do we have a wide variety of programming for school-age children, we also offer youth personal training, and before and after-school care. Both Boxcar (Durand schools) and The Learning Zone (Owosso schools) programs offer a structured curriculum that includes daily physical activity. For more information, please visit our Youth Program Page.
All adults should avoid inactivity; some physical activity is better than none. At least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity activity, or 75 minutes per week of vigorous activity, is recommended. It is also suggested that adults partake in moderate or high-intensity muscle-strengthening activities two ore more days per week.
The Shiawassee Family YMCA offers many opportunities for adults to get in some physical activity including free pickleball and racquetball for members, free group exercise classes for members, personal training with certified trainers, and a variety of weights and machines in our fitness center. Check out our group exercise class schedule here!
Older adults, those who are pregnant and/or those with chronic health conditions and disabilities should consult their physicians and follow modified guidelines. Cancer survivors should consult their physicians and follow modified guidelines adapted for their specific caners and treatments.
LIVESTRONG® at the YMCA is a 12-week health and wellness program designed for adult cancer survivors who have recently become deconditioned or chronically fatigued from their treatment and the disease itself. More information about this program can be found on our LIVESTRONG® at the YMCA webpage.
*Research taken from the American Association for Cancer Research Progress Report 2022: https://cancerprogressreport.aacr.org/progress/
**Taken from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommendations: https://health.gov/sites/default/files/2019-09/Physical_Activity_Guidelines_2nd_edition.pdf
February is American Heart Month, and with recently published research indicating blood pressure has worsened in both men and women since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, it's important to use this month to get a blood pressure screening and focus on becoming heart healthy. Below are tips to help everyone become heart healthy this February.
The history of the YMCA - like the history of the United States - is a story of incremental progress toward greater inclusion and equity for all. As we celebrate #BlackHistoryMonth, we are honoring the stories of Black leaders who helped move the Y - and America - forward.
A former enslaved person and the first Black American to become a clerk in the U.S. Patent Office, Anthony Bowen founded the first YMCA for the Black community in Washington, D.C., in 1853, eight years before the Civil War. Additional Black Ys and college chapters were established in the following decades, with membership reaching 28,000 nationwide by the mid-1920s.
The son of a freed enslaved person from Canada, William Hunton began his Y work in 1888 as the first employed YMCA secretary at a "Colored YMCA" in Norfolk, VA. Hunton worked among the soldiers in the Army camps during the Spanish-American War and in developing Student YMCAs on Black campuses throughout the South. He helped communities meet Julius Rosenwald's challenge grant to build YMCAs for Black communities, and then helped recruit and train the staff and volunteers to lead those associations.
In 1915, at the Wabash Avenue YMCA in Chicago, Carter Woodson organized the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History, which researched and celebrated the achievements of Black Americans. This led to his starting Negro History Week, the precursor to Black History Month.
Madam C.J. Walker
An entrepreneur, philanthropist and social activist, Madam C.J. Walker was one of the first self-made female American millionaires. She escaped poverty and built a company selling hair care products, which also gave her sales agents an income of their own. Walker was a philanthropic supporter of the YMCA and participated in and financially supported the NAACP's anti-lynching movement.
In 1947, Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier and became the first Black major league baseball player. This same year he also became a volunteer boys coach at the Harlem YMCA with fellow coach and teammate Roy Campanella.
Leo B. Marsh
In 1954, Dr. Leo B. Marsh became the first Black president of the Association of YMCA Secretaries. In 1971, Marsh brought the Black Achievers program (created by Quentin R. Mease at the South Central YMCA of Houston) to the Harlem YMCA. With the help of volunteer adult mentors, the Achievers program helps youth of color succeed and develop a positive sense of self.
After starting his YMCA career as an outreach working with youth, in 1969, Jesse Alexander joined the National Council of YMCAs where he helped organize the National Conference of Black and Non-White Laymen and Staff, which dealt with supporting efforts to overcome racism in the YMCA and ensuring that YMCA organizations existed where communities of color wanted them.
Violet P. Henry
After holding various executive leadership roles in the Newark and Chicago YMCAs, in 1976, Violet P. Henry became the first woman to be named to a top management position at the Y's national office. She provided leadership for numerous national and international commissions and committees that worked for the rights of women and people of color.
In 2015, Kevin Washington became the first African American - and the first person of color - to serve as CEO of the YMCA of the USA. Besides reimagining a new service delivery system across the Y movement, Washington was a leading national voice for relief from federal government for nonprofits devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic. He spearheaded the highly successful #Relief4Charities effort, put Y-USA on a path to become an anti-racist, multicultural organization and engaged youth people as changemakers in their communities.
Visit the YMCA Archives to learn more about the history of Black leadership in the YMCA.