24-hour access at YMCA expands health opportunities | Daily Democrat, Fort Madison, Iowa


A perennial top item on many people’s list of resolutions is to get healthier.

With the Fort Madison YMCA starting 24-hour access for members starting Jan. 1, one more barrier may be removed, making it easier for people to work out early in the morning or late at night.

YMCA Executive Director Ryan Wilson said the 24-hour access is built into the Y membership as opposed to being an added expense.

“Current members do need to stop in at the front desk and opt in with the 24-hour access,” he said, “which means just filling out a form and initialling the rules and regulations of 24-hour access.”

With the all-hours access, some things such as the pool and locker rooms, office and child care areas are off limits, but members can access the wellness center, the nautilus room, the free workout room and the gymnasium.

“We do have two family changing bathrooms,” Wilson said, “so there is access to showers and the bathrooms.”

One of the things, Wilson said, that makes the YMCA unique from other fitness organizations is the wide array of offerings, from swimming to shooting hoops, to running on a treadmill, to lifting weights, to aerobic group fitness and group water classes, and the downtown jiujiutsu program for youth and adults.

“There’s so many different ways that you can be active and healthy and reach your 2023 resolution with the Y,” he said. “I think there’s a lot of people that would tell you it’s never too late to get on a healthier journey, a healthier lifestyle.”

That journey starts with getting into that routine, Wilson said, and battling through the soreness and discomfort that can come with the early stages of exercies.

“A lot of people get scared and nervous and don’t like that part of the working out stuff, so just keep your body changing and moving and things like that,” he said. “We’d be happy to have everybody here at the Y, working out. We know the new year’s going to be busy.”

There’s something available for all ages and ability levels. Aquacise and aqua fitness are gentle on joints; Body Burn and Bootcamp are more intense — and every level between.

Adult activities include volleyball, basketball, Couch to 5K, Olive Branch Jiu Jujitsu and the Rodeo Stampede 5K Run/Walk.

Kids activities range from basketball, dance, gymnastics, swim lessons, jujitsu, soccer, volleyball, and more. The Y provides learning centers and child care as well.

There are several membership levels available, both annually and monthly trial memberships as well as daily passes.

One thing that makes the YMCA unique, Wilson said, is that financial assistance is available for those in need, all one needs to do is apply and qualify.

“That sets us apart from some of the other organizations in town. It’s something we do nationwide at the Y,” he said. “We don’t want the inability to afford to pay membership at our full rates to turn people away.”

Looking ahead to 2023, Wilson mentioned the Test Kitchen will be coming under the Y’s wing and the Y will continue running child care centers in Donnellson.

“We’re having some big conversations with our board on what’s next for the Y from a facility standpoint, what are some next steps for us what it looks like for our facility,” he said, “more of what can we add on to our current Y; is a new Y a possibility as well, things like that. So really looking at the big picture of things.”

Wilson said things go just one step at a time and the Y continues to grow its mission.

“I’m proud of the staff and the people that we have on board,” he said. “We have some great members and we have some great programs. It’s just taking that to another level in 2023.”

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