Just in time for the new year, checking in with the YMCA about its latest upgrades

Open in Baton Rouge for more than a century, the YMCA is part-fitness center, part-service organization, so joining it to fulfill your own wellness goals means you’re also doing something good for your fellow Baton Rougeans, says YMCA of the Capital Area President and CEO Christian Engle.

“When you’re on the treadmill working out,” says Engle, “you’re not only supporting your health, but also things like food distribution, water safety, affordable childcare and affordable programs for families.”

There are seven YMCA locations in greater Baton Rouge, and members have access to all of them. They offer fitness classes and the latest in gym equipment, and some have seen recent renovations, Engle says.

The AC Lewis branch on South Foster Drive and the Paula G. Manship location on Perkins Road saw glam-ups during the COVID-19 shutdown, and renovations are planned for both the downtown and Addis branches.

The Paula G. Manship branch also now includes EGYM smart equipment that allows users to electronically set preferences through an app.

Engle says one of the things he and his staff have heard throughout the pandemic is how much members have missed the social aspect of working out at the Y.

“We really saw how eager people were to return and reconnect with the people they’d say ‘hi’ to in the gym,” Engle says. “Social interaction is one of the biggest determinants of healthy living.”

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