A Cannonball or a Close Call?

Did you know that drowning is the 2nd leading cause of unintentional death for children under the age of 14? This May, the Y is recognizing National Water Safety Month to raise awareness of this issue. In addition to the tips below from Pool Safely, we encourage families to teach their kids to swim. Not only may it save their life, but swimmers at the Y can enjoy water sports, enhance or learn new techniques, meet new friends, get physically active, and develop confidence and a positive mental attitude.

1. Staying close, being alert and watching children in and around the pool
Never leave a child unattended in a pool or spa and always watch your child when he or she is in or near water
Teach children basic water safety tips
Keep children away from pool drains, pipes and other openings to avoid entrapments
Have a telephone close by when you or your family is using a pool or spa
If a child is missing, look for him or her in the pool or spa first
Share safety instructions with family, friends and neighbors

2. Learning and practicing water safety skills
Learn how to swim and teach your child how to swim
Learn to perform CPR on children and adults, and update those skills regularly
Understand the basics of life-saving so that you can assist in a pool emergency

3. Having appropriate equipment for your pool or spa
Install a four-foot or taller fence around the pool and spa and use self-closing and self-latching gates; ask your neighbors to do the same at their pools.
Install and use a lockable safety cover on your spa.
Install pool and gate alarms to alert you when children go near the water
Consider using a surface wave or underwater alarm

Join the Resolution

At the Y, you’ll find people just like you looking to live a little bit healthier. The start of a new year is an opportunity to re-inspire your goals, dreams and life. But of the 60% of Americans that make New Year’s Resolutions, only 8% will be successful.*

How many times have you resolved to lose weight, get stronger or be more active? Join the Y’s Resolution to make 2014 the best year yet. Don’t fret, you don’t have to do it alone! Below are exercises, tips and recipes to help you get started, and stick with, a plan that meets your needs.

Chicken Soup – Made Your Way
Healthier Super Bowl Snacks

Easy Ways to Get Your Five-a-Day

Warm Breakfast Quinoa
Tips for Eating Healthier
Citrus & Mint Tea
Dark Chocolate & Pomegranate Bark
Orange Ginger Cranberry Sauce
Healthy Thanksgiving Favorites
Spicy Pumpkin Soup

Proper Squats with Trainer Natalie (VIDEO)
The Perfect Plank with Trainer Ryan (VIDEO)
McGill Curl-Ups with Trainer Chris (VIDEO)
Quad & Hip Flexor Stretches with Trainer Hanna (VIDEO)

Family time is more important than ever!

Serving families has always been at the heart of the Y. And in today’s time-strapped society, healthy, constructive family time is more important than ever. Family time is about giving families as a unit, and as individuals, the opportunities to deepen relationships, develop new skills and interests, improve their health and well-being, and connect to the community.

Here are a few resources your family can use to learn, grow and thrive together! For more play, exercise and meal ideas, follow our Pinterest page or our Twitter page!

Family Meals
Use these helpful healthy tips
Discover a new Farmer’s Market together!
Make meals together – here’s a great blog to get you started
Involve the whole family in meal planning

Family Exercise
Explore a new trail together
Go for family walks around your neighborhood
Playful movement an hour a day – it doesn’t matter what you do, as long as your arms and legs are moving!
Make up indoor versions of outdoor games

Family Outings
Go on a walking tour of the National Mall – there’s always something new to discover!
Kid Friendly DC is filled with activity and event ideas
Check out Washington Post’s Going Out Guide for the latest kid-friendly events
Didn’t find anything interesting yet? Try Washington Parent!

Be Prepared For Summer with These Water Safety Tips

Summertime means pool time for many children and adults, and as they venture to their favorite spots to swim, play and create lasting memories, the YMCA of Metropolitan Washington reminds swimmers to practice safety when in or around the water. This May, the Y is recognizing National Water Safety Month to raise awareness of this issue.

Swimming is a fun and enjoyable activity for children and adults alike, and it’s an easy way to stay physically active and improve strength, flexibility and stamina. The Y encourages all children and adults to learn how to swim. It’s never too late. Basic swimming skills and water safety practices save lives every day.

The Y recommends children and adults practice the following safety tips when in and around the water:

  • Teach children water safety and swimming skills as early as possible.
  • Only swim when and where there is a lifeguard on duty; never swim alone.
  • Appoint a “designated watcher” to monitor children during social gatherings at or near pools.
  • Keep a first aid kit at poolside.
  • Post CPR instructions and learn the procedures.
  • Inexperienced or non-swimmers should wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket.
  • Don’t use flotation devices as a substitute for supervision. Never allow a child in a pool without an adult.
  • Parents or guardians of young children should be within an arm’s reach.
  • Children and adults should not engage in breath holding activities.
  • Maintain constant visual contact with children in a pool or pool area. If a child is missing, check the pool first; seconds count in preventing death or disability.

In addition to learning lifesaving water safety skills, swimmers at the Y can enjoy water sports, enhance or learn new techniques, meet new friends, and develop confidence and a positive mental attitude. Swimming is also a great way to help more children be physically active. Only 19 percent of U.S. children get 60 minutes of physical activity a day, according to the latest findings of the YMCA’s Family Health Snapshot – a survey that gauges children’s activity levels during the school year.

As a leading nonprofit committed to youth development, the YMCA of Metropolitan Washington has been a leader in providing swim lessons and water safety for more than 160 years. There are a variety of programs to choose, including family swim, swim leagues, parent-child lessons, aqua fitness and more. To ensure that everyone has an opportunity to participate, financial assistance is available to those in need to help cover the costs.

To learn more about the Y’s swim programs, please click here for youth and here for adults. For more water safety resources, visit www.nationalwatersafetymonth.org.

Simple Tricks to eating and feeling better

Healthy Eating

  • Choose foods low in calories, saturated fat, trans fats, cholesterol, salt and other forms of sodium, and added sugar.
  • Eat a rainbow of fruits and vegetables to get a wide variety of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. Start by substituting one snack a day for a fruit or veggie you love.
  • Cut out drinks with added sugars for water, 100% fruit juice or low-fat milk.
  • Buy breads, cereals and crackers with whole grain, whole wheat, or whole oats listed as the FIRST ingredient in the ingredient list.
  • Select healthier proteins such as lean meat, skinless chicken, fish, or dry beans.
  • Replace your dairy products (milk, yogurt, sour cream…) with low-fat or nonfat versions.

Cut Costs & Calories

  • Prepare meals at home rather than eating out. You can save money as well as control all of the ingredients that go into your food.
  • Decrease portion sizes by replacing your regular size plates and bowls with smaller sizes.
  • Bring your own healthy snacks and lunches to work instead of buying fast food or junk food.
  • Plan your weekly meals ahead of time, create a shopping list, and always eat a snack or a small meal before going to the grocery store.
  • Shop the perimeter of the grocery store where fresh produce, meats, and dairy are found. The middle aisles usually contain more expensive and processed foods.
  • Purchase items that can be used in multiple recipes such as, brown rice, beans, apples, lean meats, carrots, lentils, broccoli, spinach, tomatoes, and tuna to name a few.

Other Smart Choices – Try replacing bad habits with new and healthy ones

  • Reduce anxiety and stress – If stress isn’t managed properly, it can cause physical symptoms such as headaches, upset stomach, elevated blood pressure, chest pain, and problems sleeping. It can lead to bad habits (like smoking, drinking and overeating) which can lead to many other health problems. Here are 40 ways to relax in 5 minutes or less, thanks to the folks at Greatist.com.
  • Lose weight – Extra weight can put a strain on your heart and increase your risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes. Simple tips include portion control, keep a food journal, and get active.
  • Limit alcohol – Alcohol can raise blood pressure and increase your risk of having a heart attack or stroke. When you drink, please limit your drinks to one or two a day.
  • Get moving – Regular exercise can help you lose weight, control diabetes, and lower cholesterol and blood pressure. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, park your car at the far end of the lot, do some housework, or do some bodyweight exercises while watching TV. Here’s a guide to achieving aerobic activity miles for a ton of different exercises!

Additional Resources
YMCA of the USA’s Tips on Eating Healthy
Our Convenient Locations That Are Ready to Help You