Healthy holidays

There are all sorts of ways to stay fit during the off-season


Perhaps you are feeling a tad anxious about putting on some pounds during the holiday season, which is rolling in fast and furiously. Enjoying your favorite seasonal treats only happens once a year, but you can stay ahead of the game by checking out all the fun and diverse ways to enjoy some indoor fitness as the days get colder and darker.

All three major Island fitness centers — Airport Fitness, the Martha’s Vineyard YMCA, and the Mansion House health club have an array of machines and equipment as well as a breadth of yoga, stretch, cardio, and aerobic classes with different slants. Each facility also offers something temptingly unique. 

Airport Fitness has tennis courts, which they have also outfitted for pickleball, and hosts drop-ins, lessons, clinics, and court reservations. Likewise, when they remove the nets for these sports, the space transforms into a soccer field where they hold instructional programs for kids and men’s recreational games. Upstairs, there is a special room run by Action Karate Martha’s Vineyard that teaches classes for toddlers as young as 3 years old up through teens and adults, and some of the classes have hybrid Zoom options.

Among the classes in Airport Fitness’s bright studio with a sprung wood floor is Vineyard Moves & Grooves, emphasizing stability, balance, strength, and movement. If you want even more rhythm there is Zumba, a fusion of Latin and International dance moves that create a dynamic and exciting cardio workout.

You will find a steam room and sauna in the men’s and women’s locker rooms, but for specialized pampering, you can book spa services run by Nordic Mermaid, such as massages, time in their infrared sauna and cold plunge pool, or the outside Finnish barrel sauna equipped to fit up to four people in its unusual oversized shape.

The YMCA of Martha’s Vineyard has one of the highest participation rates in the country. There are sixty-eight classes per week and a couple are still on Zoom. As an added bonus, the Ice Arena is part of the Y, so the public skate sessions are included in your membership. Director of business operations, Nina Lombardi, shares another great benefit: “We have brought back on a limited basis our drop-in babysitting room for parents who want to work out, and we look forward to adding more hours soon.”

She says about the Y’s pool, “It is a competitive-length lap pool with six lanes and a recreational section just for kids, free swim for adults, and always has a lifeguard on duty, so I believe that it stands out in safety and service.” In addition to water aerobics in the shallow end, you can take the more challenging deep water training in which, while wearing a flotation belt, you alternate between high and low-intensity moves to increase power and strength and improve cardiovascular endurance.

There are also group cycling classes such as Cycle Party Power — a full-body cardio and strength training workout of spinning, free weights, and off-bike high-intensity interval training. The Y Cycle Rhythm Ride involves climbing, jogging, sprinting, and choreographed moves while riding to the rhythm of the beat. Two of the services for Healthy Agers include Better for You, which helps participants safely transition to the YMCA facility under the guidance of qualified staff who introduce them to safe and healthy exercise options. Sit 2B Fit uses strength building exercises to promote balance and mobility for participants with low physical function and, as the name suggests, is primarily executed while seated. 

You can sweat in all sorts of ways at the Mansion House’s health club. They offer a Sunrise Ride cycling class in which you ride to an eclectic mixture of dance, hip-hop, Pop, and throw-back music as well as Great Rock Bike with this description on their website: “Let’s ride together through peaks and valleys, steady straight-aways, focused jumps, and sprint our way to the finish line, all to the beat of classic and alternative music.”

You can free swim at the Mansion House’s 75-foot pool or take the aquatic class Water Works. For a treat, there is a hot tub to jump into before or after a swim. Other amenities include a steam room, sauna, and spa with facials, massages, mani-pedis, waxing, and wraps.

All the locations offer day passes, and short-term and long-term memberships. Lombardi says of the Y, “We are hosting a membership-joining incentive in December to help impact the health and wellness of our Island community. For a limited period of time starting in December, we are extending a $50 credit to people who join that they can use towards membership or Y programs. And Saturday, Jan. 7, we are hosting a community open house to try the Y without charge.”

There’s a whole wide world of fitness options out there for each of us, and it’s never too soon to put your best foot forward.

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