Where the Wissahickon Creek spills into the Schuylkill River, Philadelphia Canoe Club’s 18th-century mill stands next to a yard full of colorful boats. Each year, more than 300 guests take these kayaks into the water and flat-paddle down the scenic, tree-lined shores or head into the whitewater rapids downstream. Whatever their adventure, they maneuver their craft with confidence because Philadelphia Canoe Club’s certified instructors have instructed them through the fundamentals of boating and water safety, as they have since 1905.
The Philadelphia School of Circus Arts offers a wholly inimitable experience featuring acrobatic engagement with the big top’s most artistic and athletically invigorating equipment. In the Groupon-exclusive, 60-minute Intro to Circus Arts class, the school’s seasoned instructors lead students through the ups, downs, and upside-downs of disciplines including juggling, fabric performance, trapeze tight-wire, and plate spinning. Active, free-spirited, and safe, the class pushes participants through light physical challenges, intermediate tests of focus, and never-ending wrestling matches against Father Gravity. Beginning on January 15, sessions run from 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. on Saturdays and are open to all levels of talent and curiosity.
Philadelphia Sport and Social Club places athletically minded individuals into leagues, offering six levels of play, from recreational to fiercely competitive. Sports range from men's indoor basketball to outdoor favorites such as coed soccer and coed hockey, played with bladeless skates on the dry, frictional equivalent of ice—a floor. Meeting at several facilities throughout Philadelphia, most sports' seasons consist of 6–10 games and one round of single-elimination playoffs, culminating in prizes for the victors, such as long-sleeve T-shirts and, for kickball champions, a pageant of apologies from former playground bullies.
Gyms provide people with all of the equipment and guidance that they need to pursue their individual fitness goals. AFC Fitness is more than a gym though. Instead, the centers provide their members with a comprehensive range of services intended to help people not only get in better shape, but also begin living healthier lifestyles in general. This broad approach is apparent throughout the centers' massive selection of group fitness classes, which includes everything from aerial yoga and Pilates to CrossFit workouts and high-intensity water aerobics.
Personal trainers are also on hand to lend their expertise and coaches offer sports-specific training that covers the fundamentals of baseball or tennis. However, the focus isn't limited to guided workouts and fitness classes. AFC Fitness's physical therapists can help people gradually recover from the mobility-limiting effects of injury or surgery and the registered dietitians provide customized consultations that explain the nutritional value of fresh produce compared to plastic fruit.
Shiny silver poles serve as each student's dance partner during Awakenings' pole dance fitness classes, which are designed to, "awaken your inner goddess". But the classes aren't just about learning the art of seduction. By mastering graceful moves on the stationary apparatus, students get a full-body workout that combines elements of yoga, aerobics, dance, and strength training. Aerial arts classes deliver similar benefits, but instead of using a pole, students lift off the ground with
the help of silks and aerial hoops that allow them to perform yoga poses and inversions in the air. But Awakenings also has classes for those who prefer to keep their feet on solid ground?burlesque classes, for example, teach the age-old art of the tease, and incorporate the use of traditional props such as chairs, boas, and Nixon masks.