Fitness Facility Memberships Increase with Returning Fort Drum Soldiers


Health clubs near Fort Drum, NY, are experiencing an increase of memberships as 2,600 soldiers in Fort Drum’s 3rd Brigade begin to return from Afghanistan.

The Watertown Family YMCA, located less than 30 minutes from the military reservation, has seen the increase of military and their families in its facility. According to the Watertown Daily Times, with a number of programs offered exclusively for military families, including discounts on memberships and free child care services, military families make up about 25 percent of the club’s 9,000 members.

Steve Rowell, branch director for the Watertown Family YMCA, told the newspaper that the military programs are a part of the YMCA’s mission to serve the community’s needs, and Fort Drum is a large part of the community.

Just two miles down the road, Page Fitness Athletic Club offers training programs more commonly seen in the military to cater to the influx of military members.

Co-owner Chris Page told the newspaper that rather than being a traditional health club model with membership fees, the facility offers boot camp-style classes, core exercise and weight-loss classes. The niche workouts have attracted their share of new members, with returning soldiers and their families making up one-fourth of the people enrolled in the classes.

“We offer a totally different type of strength-and-conditioning training that soldiers are used to,” Page told the newspaper. “And the programs keep you accountable because when you sign up for a class, you have to come to work out at least three times a week.”

Watertown Health & Racquet Club offers more of a family-friendly atmosphere to new members with its four racquetball courts and two indoor tennis courts.

Offering membership discounts and free racquetball lessons as an incentive for military families, Watertown Health co-owner Nancy Gray says she expects health club memberships will reach a record high as all three brigades return to the area in the coming months.

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