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Healthtrax Fitness & Wellness first opened its 35,000-square-foot fitness centers in 1979, and the specialists have since maintained a commitment to helping their members lead healthier lifestyles. They work in partnership with hospitals and medical professionals to stay keen on current research, turning this information into personal-training programs and professional advice for members of all fitness levels. In addition to programs in fitness and recreation, health education, and nutrition, Healthtrax Fitness & Wellness offers more than 60 group fitness classes. Members can shake up their routines with group cycling, yoga, and Pilates sessions, or tune out the surrounding world while burning calories on TV-equipped cardio machines. Member amenities also include basketball courts and an aquatics center in addition to outlets for kids including a youth activities center and babysitting services for kids that are tired of pretending to be their mom's fanny pack as she works out.

250 Faunce Corner Rd
North Dartmouth,
MA
US

Since its 1965 founding in Venice Beach, California, Gold's Gym has dotted the globe with more than 600 locations where professional athletes and exercise newbies gather under the umbrella of personal strength. Nearly 3.5 million Gold's Gym members chart and aim for their fitness peaks, perspiring beneath the gaze of certified personal trainers or pedaling beside peers at cycling sessions. In a diverse lineup of group classes, patrons strengthen cores with Pilates, finger-paint pictures of ninjas in martial arts, and amp up heart rates along to the pulsating soundtracks of Les Mills routines. Many Gold's Gym locations stockpile futuristic amenities, such as cardio machines with individual iPod docks and televisions that help keep patrons motivated.

53 Church St
New Bedford,
MA
US

All four Total Fitness locations hold a variety of up-to-date fitness equipment and more than 25 energetically instructed classes. From cardio-kickboxing and spinning to Pilates and strength training, the fitness curriculum readies muscles and cardio systems to take on new challenges, such as running a marathon at the bottom of the ocean. Aspiring Zumbalinas can opt for Zumba classes to learn Latin dance moves; time-hindered humans can choose the power half-hour class, a core strengthening and high intensity cardio blast that burns calories like a flaming donut; and those in search of motivation can take boot camp, which comes complete with a military-esque instructor.

360 Faunce Corner Road
Dartmouth,
MA
US

Exercise can be a little tough when you start out. Take inspiration during your next workout by understanding the good it?s doing inside with Groupon?s whirlwind tour of the cardiovascular system.

The Cardiovascular System: How Exercise Makes it Hum

The average person?s heart beats 100,000 times a day, pushing 10 pints of blood all the way to the tips of the toes and back through 60,000 miles of vessels. Along this route, that blood stops to do a great many errands. The heart pumps blood to the lungs to collect oxygen before sending it through the rest of the body via arteries, arterioles, and capillaries. Once the tissues have absorbed the oxygen and nutrients they need, they send the waste-filled blood back to the heart through the veins to be reoxygenated and start the process again.

Every time our heart beats, what we really feel is the opening and closing of valves that push the blood through the heart?s four chambers and out to the body. When we exercise or get scared by a shrub that looked like a huge dog for a second, our brains instruct the heart to beat harder to supply the body with what it needs to fight or run. As exercise enhances the muscles over time, it also improves the function of the entire cardiovascular system.

This happens in several ways. Although exercise makes the heart work harder in the short term, this ultimately causes the body to adapt, easing the heart?s everyday tasks. In response to muscles? demand for more oxygen and compliments, the body actually sprouts new capillaries, while prompting existing capillaries to open wider. These increased channels help lower blood pressure, since blood now encounters less resistance on its way to the extremities. The heart also becomes better at oxygenating the tissues?red blood cells increase their numbers during intense exercise.

With its insistent knocking in our ribcage, you may think the heart?s role in all this would be hard to ignore. But the earliest anatomists didn?t hear its call so clearly. Galen and Hippocrates believed the liver produced blood and spread it through the body in a centrifugal manner; meanwhile, the veins contained air, which the lungs pushed to the tissues. They also assumed this was an open-ended system, with the blood and air gradually dissipating when it reached the ends of veins and arteries?a view that would hold for another 1,500 years.

200 N Dartmouth Mall
Dartmouth,
MA
US