More than just accommodation for young men
The YMCA has grown to become a community organization that helps people of all ages all over the world to achieve their personal goals – and that includes health, wellness and fitness goals. The facilities that are available to members are truly excellent. You can expect to have access to swimming pools, personal trainers, health and wellness programs, all the fitness classes you’d be able to sign up for at a gym, and fun group activities that build a sense of belonging, creating opportunities for you to meet like-minded people.
Best of all here in the States, joining means that you have access to YMCA gyms all around the US – so if you often have to travel around, you’ll still be able to keep up your training program. After all, you do need regular workouts if you want to meet those all-important fitness goals. If you’d like to get in touch with your local ‘Y’ to find out more, you can use this handy Branch Locator.
Benefits of Joining a YMCA Gym
The AWAY program (Always Welcome at the Y) means that you have access to more than 2,400 gyms – so wherever you are, you’ll be able to benefit from the facilities on offer. The philosophy of community that underpins the Y’s activities means that you don’t have to train all alone, or feel like a stranger. Challenge yourself to a group run with fellow-members, choose a personal trainer to get you moving, or start slowly with a program that’s designed for older adults. There are even programs for the disabled, Regardless of your age or physical condition; you’ll find a suitable program at the Y. Here are the details:
Y Basic Cardio gets your blood pumping with low impact exercises that just about anybody can do. Great for beginners who want to jump-start their fitness without risking anything too demanding, you’ll use weights and stretching exercises to build your fitness.
Y Box uses martial arts moves, and the type of training boxers do. Get fit and learn self-defense techniques with punches, kicks, and combos.
Y Pump turns pumping iron into a sociable activity instead of a solitary one. Improve your strength and build healthy, lean muscle.
Y Step gives you an all-over cardio work out using step benches and aerobics moves to the tempo of the upbeat music.
Y Stretch is all about improving flexibility with stretching exercises. Get limber and broaden your range of movement.
Y Stretch and Strength combines strength exercises with stretching exercises helping you to be suppler while toning up muscles.
Muscle Mix classes give you a full body strength training session with weights and without the aerobics.
Y Yoga provides classes for those who love the relaxation techniques, breathing exercises and controlled poses that make yoga so popular with people who want to improve their flexibility and muscle tone while de-stressing at the same time.
Y Power Yoga ups the ante with power moves combined with yoga. If traditional yoga is too mellow for you, this hybrid will suit you down to the ground.
Y Pilates offers you an opportunity to strengthen and tone your muscles while improving your posture, flexibility, and balance.
Yogalates, as you can probably tell from its name, combines the best of yoga and Pilates. Not sure which of the two is your favorite? This class fits the bill.
YFlexworks on both strength and flexibility, plus you get to pump iron in the form of barbells.
Apart from these unique offerings, you’ll also find that your Y offers the popular classes you’d see on any gym’s program. Dance your way to fitness with Zumba, get on a stationary bike and have a challenging ride at a spin class, hit the weights circuit for a full-body weights workout, enjoy belly dancing classes or firm up your abs with a dedicated abs class. Interested in the benefits of interval training? It should come as no surprise that the Y also offers cardio interval training classes.
For older members of the community, there are Silver Sneakers classes that help to keep you mobile in your golden years. You can even train from the comfort of a chair, and Fit for Life classes accommodate seniors, beginners and the disabled.
YMCA Sports Opportunities
Do you miss playing the sports you enjoyed at school or college? There’s nothing to stop you playing your favorite sports as a member of the Y. Basketball, volleyball, tennis, hockey, and soccer are among the many sporting options available.
In the mood for something fun and outdoorsy? How about joining a group for running, cycling or swimming? You can sign up for a hike in the great outdoors, try your hand at racquetball or have a go on a climbing wall, all under the watchful eye of a trainer who’ll help you out if you’re a newbie to these activities.
In keeping with the Y’s holistic approach towards the health of communities and individuals, you can get all the expert advice and training that you need. Apart from getting the full attention of a personal trainer when you work out, you will get advice on diet and healthy living in general. That’s why the Y talks about ‘Personal Wellness Training’ and not just ‘Personal Training’. There are also special wellness support groups such as the ‘Livestrong’ program for those suffering or recovering from cancer.
Y Membership: More Than Just a Gym
After reading about all the fitness opportunities available at the Y, you would be pardoned for thinking that’s all there is to membership. But the Y is still a not for profit community organization. Your membership includes safe opportunities for kids to play and socialize, a place to get together for fun family activities and meet new friends, and a chance to give back to your community when you volunteer for community programs. In today’s busy world, we are inclined to lose touch with our communities, but YMCA membership gets you re-connected.
About the YMCA
The YMCA has a presence in over 10,000 neighborhoods in the US and is devoted to learning and personal growth as well as health and wellness. From children to teens, adults and seniors, opportunities to reach your full potential as a human being and to build your community abound at the YMCA.
The YMCA has many achievements that demonstrate its ability to influence popular culture under its belt, not least of which being the invention of the game of basketball by YMCA trainer James Naismith in 1891. A few years later, in 1895, William G Morgan decided that a slightly less strenuous version of the game was needed, and the game of volleyball was born. So next time you find yourself watching or participating in one of these popular sports, remember to spare a thought for the YMCA.
Today, the YMCA continues its active involvement in building physical, mental and spiritual health, and the worth and importance of the Healthier Communities Initiative has been recognized with grants from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The initiative strives to promote healthy eating as well as healthy exercise habits in such a way that all community members will have access to these options.
Also, the YMCA’s involvement in social issues continues. Programs centered on issues such as the welfare of children, education, the ability to find employment and suitable housing and the problem of substance abuse continue to be an important part of the YMCA’s activities. As a global organization, the Y enables the youth to understand different cultures and appreciate diversity, yet again contributing to stronger, more unified communities.
It also promotes volunteerism and provides opportunities for those who want to make a difference to get involved through donating their money or time to worthy causes. The YMCA calls this principle ‘Togetherhood,’ since volunteers can contribute to building better neighborhoods together in a fun and rewarding environment. And as an influential organization that is active in communities all over the US, the YMCA also can influence public policy, acting as an advocate for happier, healthier communities.
Why YMCA Members Love Their Gym
Tony Chaney, a long-term member of the Y, encountered serious health and financial problems and simply couldn’t cover the cost of his membership. But his local YMCA stepped into the breach, and Tony is still able to attend his gym and have fun with his son at the Y.
Justin Wolfe was getting a little overweight, so he headed to the Y and volunteered as a cleaner. He really wanted to become a full member and was able to win a scholarship. Today, he is a fully fledged Wellness Attendant and has achieved a place on the American Roundball Corp (ARC) basketball team.
Mildred has come a long way since joining the Y. At the time, she was overweight and experiencing health problems. Looking at this petite lady today, it’s hard to believe that she once weighed 196 lbs. more than she currently does. But it’s not the results she’s achieved that makes Mildred love the Y but the staff, who have always encouraged and helped her on her weight loss journey.
Marci is a cancer survivor. She knew that taking care of her health was vital to her recovery, so she joined the Livestrong program. She says that the caring instructors, the healthy eating and exercise habits she learned and the friendships she forged with other cancer survivors have made it possible for her to make a full commitment to her continued health and wellness.
Sylvia, a diabetic, joined the YMCA because her doctor advised swimming as a means of pain management. But Sylvia did much more than just swimming. She joined the Silver Sneakers classes, took aquatic classes and got into stationary bike riding. Incredibly, she no longer needs insulin injections, and although she still needs a cane to get around, she doesn’t use a walker any longer. And as other members have found, the friendly atmosphere at the Y has helped her to make new friends too.
You can read more real-life reviews from YMCA members here by clicking here.
YMCA Fitness Review
YMCA membership is so much more than just a standard gym membership. Almost everyone speaks about the close sense of community, the opportunities to make new friends, the excellent childcare facilities and fabulous youth camps that are offered and, of course, the great fitness programs that ae available for all ages.
The opportunities for ‘giving back’ to the community is also one that many members love. After all, many of us would like to make a contribution to our communities, but don’t know where to start. And if you don’t have money to donate, you can donate your time. The YMCA is all about working together to create positive outcomes.
The family element is also one that has wide appeal. Kids and their parents can enjoy fun times together in the safe and friendly environment of the Y, letting off steam, getting healthy exercise, destressing and drawing closer together as a family in the process. When adults want to do something that their little ones aren’t quite ready for yet, they can leave their children in the care of minders at the Y instead of first having to find a babysitter or having to take turns to get their fitness break.
Personalized attention is also an important factor in the YMCA’s success as their wellness partner of choice. You aren’t just left to find your own way around, and you can get health and lifestyle advice that includes help with planning a healthier diet at will. If you aren’t sure what your fitness program should consist of, don’t know how to use the exercise machines or are worried that your form isn’t up to speed, there’s always someone to help at the Y.
More than one reviewer has remarked that the Y becomes more than just a gym: it’s a “home away from home” with facilities that most of us could never dream of incorporating into our homes.
Whether you’re a fitness enthusiast training for a sporting event, a senior who hopes to preserve your mobility by strengthening your muscles or just an average Joe looking to participate in some healthy exercise, the YMCA offers numerous opportunities to improve your physical health and fitness.