For more than 150 years, the Young Men’s Christian Association has helped Americans stay in shape. The association’s Boston affiliate opened the first gym in the country in 1851. Forty years later, a YMCA physical fitness instructor in Springfield, Mass., James Naismith, invented basketball so his young charges would have a game to play indoors during the winter. In 1895, another Y instructor, who considered basketball too strenuous for older members, came up with the game of volleyball.


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