Workout plan: A free outdoor routine to complete at a park
Take your fitness regime to the great outdoors (well, your local patch of grass) with this workout plan designed by an NYC Parks trainer.
Tue Sep 10 2013
Photo: Caroline Voagen Nelson
The city (in conjunction with Equinox, and Empire Blue Cross and Blue Shield) offers more than 150 free fitness classes per week—such as Zumba, boot camp, yoga and kickboxing—in parks and rec centers, via its Shape Up NYC series (visit nyc.gov/parks for details). We visited Macombs Dam Park (River Ave between 157th and 161st Sts, Bronx) and asked one of the program’s recreational supervisors, Ryan Treasure, to demonstrate a workout plan appropriate for any fitness level.
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For beginners, Treasure recommends running, stretching and jumping rope, then adding a routine like a bleacher sequence. But don’t push yourself too hard: You’ll burn out and give up before you see results. Use the other sets of exercises—including step-ups and jump-ups, sit-ups and push-ups, and power-band moves—to mix things up, and after three or four weeks, start to combine different actions to keep building strength and stamina.
What you’ll need: A jump rope, a yoga mat and a power band (also known as a resistance band, approximately $30, available from sports stores)
Do these first
Treasure starts with a mile run, doing four laps around the track. If you’re a newbie, he suggests alternating between jogging and speed-walking every eighth of a mile. Try to keep your hands loose at about waist level—that’ll help focus your energy on the actual running. Pro trip: Land on the midsole of your foot, never the heel—the latter is inefficient and may lead to injuries.
After your run, be sure to loosen the muscles you plan to use in later exercises. For instance, Treasure recommends focusing on your quads, calves and hamstrings before hitting the bleachers. To do this, find a fence that’s about waist-high; then, facing it and standing a leg’s length away, put one heel on top of the fence. Reach out to the toes of that foot, holding the stretch where you feel the tension. Next, get closer to the fence and swing out your leg to the 3 o’clock position; rest the inside of your foot on the fence and reach out to it. Finally, stand about two feet from a wall, facing it and putting one hand on it at a point a foot higher than your head. Lift your heels and shift your weight to your toes, go back to flat and repeat this movement. Treasure performs each stretch for 30 seconds, but he’ll up those to a minute if his body is feeling tighter than usual.
Unlike playground rope-skipping, the movements in Treasure’s grown-up version are more deliberate: You should lightly flip your wrists to swing the rope, and hop just high enough for the cord to pass under your sneakers. Go for 30 to 60 seconds depending on your ability, then rest for 30 seconds. Repeat five to ten times.
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