Savannah, Georgia, is a growing city offering plenty of options for those wanting to be fit. Dozens of regular gyms with cardio equipment, weights and group fitness options are scattered around the city, and there are also several specialized yoga and Pilates studios. Those interested in swimming can buy memberships to one of the city's aquatic centers, and the YMCA is perfect for family fitness on a budget. Or for something a little different, you could join an outdoor pursuits or water sports club.
Dozens of gyms operate all over Savannah. In most cases, membership benefits include unlimited use of cardio equipment, weight machines and free weights, as well as access to any classes held at the gym. Quality of equipment, service, changing facilities and extras--such as spa and sauna use--vary from club to club, as do membership fees and terms. If you are thinking of joining a gym, visit several to make comparisons before signing up. Most clubs offer a free one-day or one-week trial membership. Take advantage of this to ensure that the gym is for you, because once you are signed up, it can be difficult to get out of the contract. Examples of gyms in Savannah include 24 Seven Family Fitness (six branches), Curves clubs for women only (three branches) and, for something slightly different, Hourglass Weight Loss and Fitness, which provides diet plans and packaged meals as well as circuit training.
Yoga and Pilates Clubs
Yoga is a popular and ancient form of exercise for the body and mind. It improves strength, muscle tone, balance and flexibility while increasing feelings of motivation and general well-being. There are several clubs in Savannah devoted entirely to yoga, while some general fitness centers also offer classes as part of membership benefits. At Savannah Yoga Center, as of September 2010, a 12-class card costs $132, while a one-off session is $14. The club also offers discounted community classes for as little as $9 per session. Or you could try yoga in a heated room at Bikram Yoga Savannah. One-off classes are $20, as of September 2010, while 10 classes are $120. Momentum Pilates Studio is offers mat classes for groups of up to ten, which cost $15 per class, as of September 2010, or $120 for 10 classes.
Savannah has several public swimming pools that offer memberships. You do not have to be a member to attend, but if you want to swim often, joining will save you money. Most pools in the area offer a swim school. Chatham County Aquatic Center has a comprehensive program of water aerobics classes for all ages and abilities. As of September 2010, "punch cards" for water aerobics cost $48 for 12 lessons. For those over 55, the cost is $36.
The YMCA is a long-standing organization that now offers fitness activities, facilities and programs for the whole family. Savannah has four YMCA clubs, each running different programs. For example, at the West Broad Street YMCA in Downtown Savannah, there is a pool and basketball court, aerobics and water aerobics classes, an adult basketball league, martial-arts club and sports programs, including basketball, T-ball and soccer for children aged 2 to 10 years.
Outdoor Fitness Clubs
Given its coastal location and mild climate, Savannah is a popular place for water sports. It is also very flat, so it's great for cycling. There are many outdoor-pursuits clubs in the city, including Savannah Sailing Center, a volunteer-run organization offering a range of sailing classes and race training. Saturday classes for children and adults are $175 to $225 for five lessons, as of September 2010, depending on whether or not you are a member of the club. Chatham Area Rowing Association offers a variety of programs for all abilities, including beginners. Membership, as of September 2010, is $275 per program, with returning members paying $200. A less-costly option is Savannah's Coastal Bicycle Touring Club, established in 1981. It arranges different 25- to 40-mile rides every Saturday morning. The club welcomes beginners and offers special rides for those new to cycling. Membership rates, as of September 2010, are either $10 or $20 for four months, dependent on the season.