Instructors at Pierce Athletics flip limbs and encourage limbering back bends and high-flying leaps in an 11,500-square-foot gym during an array of tumbling classes. Muscles stretch and bodies soar during 60- to 90-minute classes divided by age and skill level. Each course holds a few sessions per week; this Groupon covers one session per week for nine weeks. Adults tag along with miniature athletes for Tiny Tumblers classes, introducing tykes as young as 18 months to coordination and flexibility, and older newbies in the Beginner or Advanced Beginner courses learn cartwheels and round-offs to serve them throughout life's dance-offs.
Within Cary Gymnastics & Dance Center's 4,200-square-foot facilities, instructors look on as gymnasts of all ages—from adults and teens to toddlers licking the chalk from their hands for the first time—tumble on padded floors, vault over pommel horses, and swing on high bars during open-gym hours or weekly classes. Beyond the apparatus, dance and cheer squads hone their routines safely over the mats, and athletes practice sports such as basketball, volleyball, and floor hockey at the CG Sports Center, where pitching machines hurl baseballs and softballs within a 50-foot-long batting tunnel.
In 1976, educator, musician, and kinesiologist Robin Wes opened The Little Gym based on his new take on physical education. His curriculum emphasized motivating children to achieve instead of pressuring them to win. As a result, The Little Gym became a noncompetitive, positive, nurturing environment where young ones could develop physically, socially, emotionally, and intellectually. Since then, The Little Gyms have sprouted up across the country. The programs and classes aim to help kids develop skills such as rhythm and coordination, and kids camps during winter, spring, and summer breaks prevent children from creating finger paintings that express the existential ennui they feel when school is out of session.
The coaches at Gym Spot have trained several award-winning state and regional gymnasts, as well as recreational gymnasts. However, they also train babies. Their curriculum covers classes for children as young as 12 months, as they believe that a gymnastics education develops universal life skills, not just the ability to win medals. Their preschool sessions allow toddlers to work with their parents or on their own, depending on age, as they practice hand-eye coordination and cooperation.
As for children in 1st through 8th grade, they participate in activities that align with the USA Gymnastics program, including tumbling, vaulting, balance beam, and bars. Students who hope to compete, meanwhile, work on graduating each successive USAG level.
At Prairie Athletic Club, fitness is not dependent on the weather. No matter your sport, you can find a space to play it while avoiding the snow. The club boasts an indoor soccer field, track and field space, racquetball courts, and basketball courts. If swimming is your forte, you can dip into the family pool, six lane lap pool with deep water, or the 90 degree warm water pool. After a cardio workout, build up muscle strength in the weight room or dip into the adult and family whirlpools and infrared saunas to relax tense muscles.