Health: The Top Five Ys for Families

Local Y’s have been stepping it up — and we went inside to find the best in the Philadelphia area.

If your idea of a Y is dank and dingy, poorly funded health club with outdated equipment, we understand. That’s what we thought, too. Until we saw the packed lot at the Upper Main Line YMCA, with shiny Mercedes constantly pulling in and out. And after a fellow yogi accosted one of us on the way out of class gushing over how much she and her family love, love, LOVE spending afternoons at the Y. Oh, and then we heard two ladies on our train going on and on about the fabulous classes.

[sidebar]Something must be up. So we started calling and Googling, and what we
discovered was that Philadelphia area Ys offer one of the most diverse — and
affordable — selection of fitness and family programs. You’ll find state-of-the-art gyms and wellness centers, youth sports teams, group fitness and dance classes, family-friendly events and (free!) childcare — all under one roof. And family memberships range from $53 to $82.50 each month — about half the cost of a regular gym.

So while Mom finds her inner ohmm in a group yoga class and Dad hits the gym, the kids can join a youth basketball league or swim team, take drama, dance or karate classes or hang out with their friends at one of the monthly social events.

Here are Philly’s top five — and you’ll find a list of other area Ys near
you here


North Penn YMCA (LaCrest Health Center, 624 E. Main Street, Lansdale, 215-368-1526 and Lansdale Branch, 608 E. Main Street, Lansdale, 215-368-1601)

This pair of Ys — one’s down the street from the other — offer a one-two punch of family fitness and personal health and happiness. Between the two facilities, you’ll find the latest exercise equipment, fun group classes, diet and nutrition counseling and a hair salon, so you’re sure to feel and look your best. Kids will find plenty to do with kid-friendly fitness equipment, parent-child community programs, and basketball, floor hockey and volleyball games. There are also summer camps and HIP Kids, a health intervention program to prevent childhood obesity. And the membership cost — which gets you in all four North Penn locations — can’t be beat.

Price per month for individual: $47*
Price per month for family: $73*
*No start-up fee

Group activities: yoga, yogalates, spinning, kickboxing, step, cardio aerobics, cardio salsa, body pump, step, water aerobics, aquatic tai chi, basketball, floor hockey, volleyball, baseball, swimming, softball

Awesome extras: prenatal yoga, physical therapy and massage services, hair salon, indoor pools, sauna, whirlpool, indoor racquetball courts

Upper Main Line YMCA
1416 Berwyn-Paoli Rd., Berwyn, 610-647-9622

This recently renovated Y is big enough to hold everything your heart desires. With a sleek new 8,500-square-foot adult fitness center (with personal TVs on the cardio machines, three roomy group exercise studios, indoor and outdoor pools and tennis courts and a teens-only wellness center), there’s something for everyone. To promote family togetherness, UMLY offers parent-child gymnastics and aquatics classes, and the Y Adventure Guides program, which offers family activities like camping, canoeing, bowling and ball games.

Price per month for individual:
Price per month for family: $110
Start up fee: Adult $80; Family $120

Group activities: Body Pump, cardio dance fusion, boot camp, step, cycling, Zumba, yoga, Pilates, aquatic tai chi, basketball, gymnastics, golf and tennis

Awesome extras: Mommy and me yoga, Earth Day celebration, CPR certification training, indoor and outdoor pools, sauna, whirlpool, indoor and outdoor tennis courts

Abington YMCA
1073 Old York Rd., Abington, 215-884-9622

No matter what your age, they take health seriously at this Y. There are group fitness classes (think kickboxing, yoga, Bosu, and hip-hop dancing), nutrition counseling, free blood pressure screenings, therapeutic massage, and Fit Fundamentals, a twice-weekly circuit training class geared toward kids ages 8-14. They use balls, hoops and jump ropes to keep your little ones moving. A self-defense course for adults starts this season, too.

Price per month for individual: $55
Price per month for family: $82.50
Start up fee: $99 for individual, $149 for family

Group activities: Pilates, Bosu, yoga, boot camp, kickboxing, cardio circuit, swim, Spinning, dance (hip-hop, line dancing), basketball, football, lacrosse

Awesome extras: indoor and outdoor pools, sauna, whirlpool, indoor racquetball courts, summer camps, Special Olympics training

Roxborough YMCA
7201 Ridge Ave, 215-482-3900

The Y reopened with a brand-spanking-new facility in September and now have a ton of family-friendly fitness activities on the schedule. In addition to your usual suspects — yoga, Pilates, BodyPump and cycling — they offer water aerobics, yoga for kids, injury rehab training, basketball, swim team, and a kids rock-climbing wall.

Price per month for individual: $56
Price per month for family: $84
Start up fee: $99 for individual, $149 for family

Group activities: Yoga, Pilates, cycling, BodyStep, BodyPump, Low Impact Fitness, kickboxing, stability ball, stretch and abs, soccer, t-ball, basketball, gymnastics, dance

Awesome extras: Kid-sized exercise equipment, indoor pool and sauna, summer camps, PR and babysitter training, Body Rox nutritional and fitness coaching for children

Betty & Milton Katz JCC
1301 Springdale Rd., Cherry Hill, 856-424-4444

You’d be hard pressed to find something this massive, newly renovated JCC doesn’t have. We’re talking two full-court basketball courts, two indoor pools, four outdoor tennis courts, an indoor track, the latest cardio machines, and mini-golf. The possibilities are endless. Daycare and full-day preschool through kindergarten classes are available, as well as after-school activities for elementary-aged students.

Price per month for individual: $550-655 per year (about $45-55/month)
Price per month for family: $1,245 per year (about $103/month)
Start up fee: $100

Group activities: yoga, Pilates, tai chi, Tae Bo, dance, step craze, Spinning, Zumba, soccer, basketball

Awesome extras: spa services, indoor and outdoor pools, sauna, whirlpool, outdoor tennis courts, physical therapy training, nutritional counseling, annual Arts, Books, and Culture Festival