It is known that dealing with a deployment can be an huge source of stress on families. It is also commonly known that exercise is a fantastic way to reduce stress. So, it makes sense that going to the gym while your loved one is deployed can be not only be great for your body but it is a fantastic way to feel better about yourself and improve your mental health.
If you live near a military post, you can take advantage of the MWR (morale, welfare and recreation center). But if you are a National Guard or Reserve family, you may not have that option. But thankfully, the Department of Defense and the YMCA have partnered together in the YMCA Military Outreach program.
YMCA’s throughout the United States and Puerto Rico are offering free memberships to National Guard and Reserve families while their sponsor is deployed. In addition, they offer free memberships to active duty families that relocate away from a military post during the deployment. In order to take advantage of this program, you simply show a military ID, a copy of deployment orders and bring the following form to your participating local YMCA.
With a free membership you can use all of the fitness facilities including the pool. Many facilities also offer rock climbing walls, outdoor field use and fantastic members only events. In addition, you receive the reduced member rate on all class and activity enrollment fees for yourself and your children. Another great feature of the YMCA is that they offer free childcare for up to two hours while parents work out.
During my husband’s most recent deployment I took full advantage of the YMCA program with my children. It truly made all of us happier to go to the Y a few times a week. I was able to take a break and do something good for myself by working out and my kids had a blast playing in the Kidzone. We all loved playing in the pool together and my kids were able to take swim lessons and join sports leagues. I truly believe that the distraction of having fun together helped all of us cope with my husband being gone. The YMCA Military Outreach program is outstanding and something that military families should take advantage of!