At each of its 31 area locations, the YMCA of Greater Houston pursues a mission to bring health, wellness, and personal growth to communities. Kids leap into activities ranging from swim lessons and youth sports to a teen Youth & Government program that stirs up confidence and leadership abilities in students, preparing them for mudslinging student-council campaigns.
Zumba, ballroom dance, and Les Mills group exercise classes shake up adult workout routines, as complimentary childcare frees up parents to pursue fitness goals. Meanwhile, adult sport leagues such as basketball and racquetball result in friendly competition and hyper-literate team names inspired by obscure philosophers.
After a brush with death that left her temporarily paralyzed, Crystal Hadnott fought to achieve full functionality with her body—and she hasn't stopped moving since. She got certified as a personal trainer, a Pilates and spin instructor, and a nutritionist, and today she shares her motivation to stay healthy at Synergy Total Holistic Health & Wellness. During outdoor boot camps or one-on-one sessions, Cyrstal helps clients work out without injuring themselves, focusing primarily on the healthy, functional movements that lead to a stronger body.
Students should bring: Mat, Bottle of Water, Towel
Average class length: 30–60 minutes
Number of Staff: 1–5
Class location: Outdoors only
Registration required: No
Good for beginners: Yes
Guests allowed: Yes
Parking: Free street parking
As the sun sets and darkness blankets the city, runners, joggers, and walkers of all ages run, jog, or walk through the Neon Splash Dash, a luminescent jaunt that benefits a chosen charity partner. To the soundtrack of adrenaline-boosting tunes, participants clad in white T-shirts make their way through four glow zones, each filled with volunteers armed with a different color of intense UV glow water. Once across the finish line, they'll attend the After Glow Party, which bathes them in the otherworldly illumination of black lights and the accompanying joy of wearing a self-satisfied smile as they play games and enjoy entertainment for the rest of the night.
Charged only by the moon, glowing costumes, and a desire to help local charities, participants in the Firefly Run take over their city streets for friendly 5K and 10K competition. During the race, runners cut through the cool night air decked out in incandescent gear, leaving little neon trails behind them like a gaggle of baby comets. Participants are encouraged to sign up in teams and coordinate outfits for the postrace costume contest, and DJs and LED dance troupes gather around the finish line to welcome them back from moonlit journeys.
If the Color Fun Fest were televised, it might have viewers wondering if someone had messed with their TVs' color settings. That's because, at one-kilometer intervals across the race course, staffers shower runners with neon powders, transforming them into a kind of collective stampeding rainbow. But participants won't find a pot of gold at the end of this rainbow—or, for that matter, a podium; the 5K run is noncompetitive and doesn't track times. Instead, they'll step into a lively party where colors fly through the air and stopwatches are smashed like piñatas. The celebration draws inspiration from Holi, a festival of colors primarily celebrated in India and Nepal; in the communal spirit of that festival, each of Color Fun Fest's races supports a different charity.
Part color-powder fight and part animal-themed 5K, the Jungle Fever 5K Colorful Run For Your Life Series brings runners of all ages together for a morning of relaxed and fun racing. Volunteer "animals" surprise runners with splashes of color as they leisurely make their way through an untimed 5K race. Outlandish outfits are encouraged—either wild animal-themed outfits or all-white clothing. The whole affair ends in a colorful splash as runners lob handfuls of colored powder at one another in a color fight.