The YMCA Adventure Warrior Race gives kids and adults a chance to prove themselves against ropes courses, mud, water obstacles, and other unexpected mental and physical challenges—all while supporting a good cause. Amid the breathtaking views and tranquil waters of Lake Tris, runners maneuver around trees and carry heavy objects up the sometimes snow-covered Laurel Highlands mountains, climbing up to 1,000 feet as they go. Warriors aged 16 and older make a 4-mile circuit, whereas younger participants run age-appropriate distances of a half mile or a full mile. Trophies and the respect of all the woodland creatures are awarded to the top male and female runners, top male and female teams, and top co-ed team. According to the Daily American, funds raised from the race provide camp scholarships that allow kids to attend residential and day programs at the 263-acre YMCA Camp T. Frank Soles.
In 1949, Charles “Chick” and Elda Mae Bruckman founded Bruckman School of Dance as a center of education for dancers of all ages and skill levels. A lifelong devotee of dance, Chick began his career at 6 years old and remains the school’s artistic director to this day. Along with a team of instructors, the Bruckmans introduce students to dance styles including tap, ballet, jazz, pointe, and hip-hop. As they lead students in mastering choreographed routines, they also teach dance history, imparting the origins of ballet and how NASA scientists made the moonwalk a dance craze in the early '70s. In addition to conventional dance classes, they host dance-inspired fitness classes, such as the Hip Hop Hustle and Turbo Kick, to get cardiovascular systems pumping.
At Yoga on Fremont, confidence and self-knowledge spring from ancient poses and breathing exercises. Encouraging instructors explore the yogic spectrum through several different disciplines, including gentle, relaxing yoga nidra and sweaty, athletic hot power yoga. Each instructor draws upon at least 200 hours of teacher training, helping beginners build a foundation as sturdy as a cast-iron exoskeleton.
From time to time, the studio hosts workshops that cater to the needs of kids, families, and cancer survivors. A rousing hula-hoop workshop pairs yoga’s bends and balances with gyrations that help slim and strengthen the core.
At 14,000 square feet, The Climbing Wall might be the next best thing to the great outdoors. Challenges abound for climbers, as the staff resets the routes several times a week. Top-roping walls stretch up to 30 feet high and present participants with obstacles such as overhangs and slabs. The bouldering walls are equally as imposing, with three top outs. Both adults and kids can take classes to learn how to tackle the walls and show off their skills in the real world by skipping the stairs and climbing up to their bedrooms.
Housing 10 gleaming, regulation-size racquetball courts, a convoy of weight-training and cardio equipment, and a full roster of classes, St. Clair Fitness & Racquet Club gives exercise-starved bodies a chance to get the blood pumping and muscles moving. Morning racquetball leagues are open to early-bird worm-hunters, evening sessions offer pulse-pounding activity free of daywalkers, and tournaments set potential victors on a quest for blue-orb-obliterating supremacy. Additionally, players left partnerless due to amateur-athlete strikes can take advantage of the club's free matching program.
Under the guidance of PGA-certified professional Ed Vietmeier, golfers gain control of delinquent swings in one-hour sessions conducted at Vietmeier Golf Center's expansive driving range. Throughout the lesson, club-toting trainees launch TaylorMade practice balls into the stratosphere from the center's synthetic hitting mats while Ed pinpoints bad habits, tightens up poor techniques, and digresses into tangents about his childhood mashie niblick. A video camera captures all the action, providing players with a visual aid to understanding the technical underpinnings that result in unsightly snap hooks or slices, while also helping them better comprehend Ed's corrective advice. Aside from being a sound practice venue, the center's range runs along the highest point in McKees Rocks, affording a breathtaking view of the city of Pittsburgh, which is reachable in two swings for those with the latest set of gravity-resistant golf balls.