A couple years ago, I made the mistake of looking at one of those body mass index charts that hang in every medical office (it was brightly-colored, can you blame me?). I followed my age, height and weight qualifications, only to come to the sobering conclusion that I was "overweight." It wasn't an aesthetic measurement, like, "Oh, I hate this beer gut," but a scientific, quantifiable categorization. Having been a skinny kid throughout my teens, and living in "it's probably just muscle"-variety denial during my twenties, it opened my eyes to the fact that my body is getting older and requires more effort to maintain it.

    I've never been much of a fan of gyms. For one, I'm not "good" at gym-ing. Exercise machines generally confuse me, and the idea of "blasting" any muscle is terrifying. Plus, the stereotypes of dudes creeping on women of gym culture, from my observation, still hold true.

    However, the new Copley-Price Family YMCA in City Heights (4300 El Cajon Blvd.) is unlike any gym experience I've ever had. After taking advantage of a free month trial it offered during August, I immediately signed up for a full membership. Having opened early this year, all the facilities are clean and state of the art, including basketball courts, soccer fields, outdoor exercise equipment and two pools—indoor and outdoor—which I love, considering that my knees aren't as friendly as they once were.

    But the true beauty of the new YMCA is its family-friendly, community feel. Not only does that reduce a lot of the creepy bro aggression often found in gyms, it also gives the community of City Heights—a neighborhood with few parks and recreation—a place to play.

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