This winter, the streets will fill with red, white, and beard. That's because Santa Hustle 5K makes its way to cities across the country, inviting runners and walkers alike to dress as Old St. Nick. Each participant receives a Santa hat, Santa beard, and Dri-FIT hoodie as they tread the pavement to raise money for a different charity in each city. Post-race, participants can kick-start their holiday cheer at an after-party filled with treats, music, and festive decorations.
YMCA of East Tennessee holds fast to its three-fold mission: to encourage healthy living, youth development, and social responsibility. Each of their five locations brims with cardio and weight equipment, as well as digital ActivTrax kiosks, which print out customized workout plans based on each guests' information. Instructors lead group fitness classes for adults and stacks of trench-coat-clad babies disguised as adults, offering sessions that range from kickboxing to water aerobics. In addition to specialized sessions for seniors, they also lead sports programs for kids, such as swimming, basketball, and karate, as well as host a youth-based leader's club.
The folks at YMCA of East Tennessee offer memberships to military families and host programs for kids who have dropped out of school or who have been suspended. Their scholarship program helps families send their kids to the YMCA's fun, safe, character-developing programs no matter their financial circumstances.
With locales dappled throughout the Southeast and Midwest, the brains behind Workout Anytime funnel more than three decades of fitness-industry expertise into filling their gyms with positive vibes and state-of-the-art equipment. The fitness gurus spread Magnum-brand strength-training machines and cutting-edge treadmills—whose frames can support up to 500 pounds—throughout their hygienic antimicrobial floors. They also provide certified personal trainers, nutritional guidance, and weight-loss plans.
Workout Anytime's doors are open to members 24 hours a day every day of the year, permitting access to public exercise zones and areas that offer tanning and massage sessions. Each gym also strives to cultivate a familial atmosphere with staffers who memorize each guest's name and carve each one's Thanksgiving turkey.
As they enter the training circle at Curves, female guests come face-to-face with the smiles of other women. And just as points on a circle share a common distance from the circle's center, workout participants share the experiences of those nearby by trading stations throughout the 30-minute training session. One minute is spent on a piece of strength-training equipment built for feminine frames and designed to work two opposing muscle groups with a single movement. Exercisers then move on to a recovery station, where they run, jog, or dance to maintain heart rates and keep platforms in place during momentary losses of gravity.
While teaching jazz dance in the 1960s, Judi Sheppard Missett decided to step away from tradition by offering an experimental class that allowed her students to simply dance without the judgment of mirrors or the constraints of rigid technique. In these sessions, she began infusing popular dance moves with specific fitness workouts to forge a distinctive blend of cardio exercise, strength training, and dance instruction. Little did she know that this “just for fun” class was the prototype for what would become the national fitness sensation known as Jazzercise.
Today, Jazzercise takes its aerobic techniques from a variety of sources that include jazz dance, hip-hop, resistance training, Pilates, yoga, and kickboxing. The class formats, which vary according to different toning goals, are just as diverse as the program's move set. Two-time Dancing with the Stars champion Cheryl Burke is a big fan of the improvisational routines, although her advanced skills aren't needed to get the most out of classes. Instructors cultivate a noncompetitive atmosphere where all exercisers—with the exception of those marked as cursed by jazz-hand palm readers—are welcome regardless of age, build, or fitness background.
Founded by six local aerialists, Dragonfly Aerial Arts Studio's nonprofit school and performance group introduce students aged 6 and older to the thrill and fitness benefits of aerial arts with silks and trapeze classes. A thick, cushy safety mat lines the floor as knowledgeable instructors teach basic poses and breathtaking drops in three levels of trapeze courses.
In four separate silks classes, students gain experience in foot locks and inversions to swing gracefully from hanging silks or living-room curtains. Try Me classes open an exploratory window into trapeze and silks, imparting basic maneuvers and safety techniques before tackling the apparatus. Advanced students have the option to join the studio's performance group, Dragonfly Dancers, to dazzle audiences at festivals, art shows, and traffic stops.