North County Outlook - Community newspaper serving Marysville, Arlington, Tulalip, Smokey Point, Lakewood

YMCA classes help cancer survivors


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Participants in YMCA's Livestrong classes use exercise to help recover after cancer treatment.

YMCA's Livestrong classes can help cancer survivors get back into exercise and find a community of people with similar experiences.

The next session of free Livestrong classes for the Marysville YMCA begins Sept. 22, and other YMCA locations in the county are also beginning sessions in late September.

The 12-week course is free, even if you don't have a YMCA membership. "We want to make sure that everyone has access to it," said Lynette Monpas, the program manager.

Classes meet two times a week. The Marysville classes meet on Tuesdays and Thursdays between 12:30 p.m. and 2 p.m.

Cancer survivors meet for exercise and some discussion at each of the classes.

Monpas said that medical studies have shown that strength training has a positive impact on many cancer survivors.

Classes also include cardiovascular, flexibility and other training as well. In addition, guest instructors will be brought in to give examples of other exercise types, like yoga, said Monpas.

She said that people going through the classes are looking for something to anchor them down as well.

"People get started because they've been diagnosed with cancer and they come to us for a new sense of normal," she said.

The Livestrong classes help people feel better and get stronger, she said, but finding a like-minded group is often people's favorite part.

"People like the extensive community and support aspect of these classes. We have people coming back because they've made friends and there are people who understand what they've been through," said Monpas.

She said many of the participants get to know each other well.

"If someone doesn't come for one session and no one knows why, then everyone's worried about what happened and calling other people to find out," she said.

Monpas said that providing a safe place for cancer survivors is one of the best thing the classes do.

Interested participants can enroll by calling Lynnette Monpas at 360-453-2190 or e-mailing Space is limited.

A medical clearance form will also have to be filled out. It is available at

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Free Livestrong classes will be offered at the Marysville YMCA beginning Sept. 22.

After enrolling, participants get a one-on-one session with the instructor to do a physical assessment and talk about where they are at in terms of physical capabilities.

"This is not a one-size-fits-all program. We have people that are going through treatment to people that are 20 years past their treatment, so we try to be specific about what we provide to each participant," said Monpas.

The classes are a result of national partnership between the YMCA and the Livestrong Foundation that began in 2007.

Snohomish County YMCAs began adopting the program about four years ago, said Monpas.

There are sessions for fall and winter, and some summer sessions, she said.

More information about the classes is available at


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