Memorial Athletic Club
Best Health Club/Gym in Memorial
A new Netflix show explored why people live longer with less disease in areas called “blue zones.” Japan’s elders maintain core strength by sitting and rising from the floor, suggests the host. That strength means less falls and more independence. At Memorial Athletic Club, they do it a little differently.
“We have one lady who is about 90 who can do five or six pull-ups,” said club owner Dave Cardone. “One of the biggest fears that older populations have is becoming dependent on someone else, and falls are the number one reason that happens. I see those older populations here maintain and improve their core and leg strength. That’s the most important thing people can do to prevent a fall,” he said.
Cardone is in his 60s and he’s a big advocate for muscle training. An overweight kiddo, he went on to play college sports and worked in a fitness club full-time while he studied. Later, he had the opportunity to convert a racquetball club into Memorial Athletic, and he never looked back. That was in the 80s.
Today, his gym welcomes all ages with childcare, children’s swimming lessons, parent-child lessons, and athletic conditioning for kids from 7 years on up. They also offer two pools and a women-only facility across the street. With around 150 exercise classes a week, they keep their diverse membership happy and sweaty. Yoga, pilates, spin, HIIT, and even a pickleball court are all part of the Houston gym’s special sauce.
Some show up just to watch the Astros game together on the lobby couches. For the holidays, 100 people registered for an outdoor community Zumba class to end with mingling, fajitas, and beverages for all.
“Our motto is, we’re committed to our club members,” said Cardone. Long-time members and staff with decades at the club are the proof. For the owner, the comfortable environment is by design. “We want to help people,” he said.
Former Olympians train here, but members also get free time with fitness staff. Time includes a fitness evaluation, flexibility screening, and posture analysis as the basis of a strength-building program. Flexibility concerns and muscle imbalances – like those caused by sitting too much at work – are also addressed to prevent injuries.
“You want to build up your muscles so they are doing the work and not your joints. That’s the most important key to preserving your body, because you only get one body,” said the gym owner, calling strength training critically important. Increased muscle mass increases metabolism too, he added.
As the new year approaches, Memorial Athletic has a few other treats for their member holiday stockings. A small group training program will begin in January for adults of all ages. “Anybody who wanted to get a personal trainer or needed a bit more individualized attention can participate in a program at a fraction of the cost for every workout,” said Cardone.
Blue zone longevity might be closer than you thought.