Best outdoor fitness classes

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  • Brooklyn Bridge Workout

  • Central Park Workout

  • Fitness in the Square

  • DeRose Method

  • Capoeira in the Park

  • Racewalking

  • Running tours

  • Pilates mat class

  • Fitness walking

Brooklyn Bridge Workout


RECOMMENDED: Fitness guide to NYC

Brooklyn Bridge Workout
Take in some of the best views of the New York skyline while sculpting your bod during this one-hour class that travels across the one-mile-long Brooklyn Bridge. Through a series of stretches, squats, and yoga and ballet moves you’ll define your abs, slenderize your hips and thighs, tone your arms and get your heart in top shape. Founder Ariane Hundt says you can burn up to 800 calories per hour during “New York’s toughest new workout.” Be sure to mind the bicyclists. Meet at the entrance ramp to the Brooklyn Bridge, Manhattan side (646-354-0039, brooklynbridgebootcamp.com). Mon, Wed, Thu, Fri 6:30am; Tue, Wed, Thu 6:30pm; Sat 7:45am, 9am. $20 per class.

Central Park Workout
Take a walk in Central Park, Rocky-style: Don’t let a bench pass without using it as a platform for push-ups; and sprint, don’t stroll, up those concrete steps. Centered around the park’s preexisting architecture, this total-body workout will increase muscle tone, stamina, endurance and agility. Central Park, meet at 60th St and Fifth Ave on the NW corner at the benches (917-744-6627, physeq.com). Aug 3--29. Mon, Wed 6:30pm; Sat 10am. Single class $30, unlimited monthly pass $180; July 6--Aug 1.

Fitness in the Square
Skip your standard snooze-button slap schtick and get out of bed in time to take advantage of these complimentary fitness classes, held all summer long in Union Square. Early birds get the serenity, so to speak, when they catch the 8am yoga class for all skill levels. Immediately following yoga, burn major calories with the Brooklyn Bridge Boot Camp cardio workout at 9am, which includes running, jumping jacks, squats and lunges. If you have energy left, a tai chi class, courtesy of the McBurney YMCA follows at 10am. Union Square Park, south plaza, 14th St between Broadway and University Pl (212-460-1200, unionsquarenyc.org). Yoga Thu 8am, boot camp Thu 9am, tai chi Thu 10am; June 18--Aug 13.

Free DeRose Method classes
Sure, spending your Sunday sunbathing in Sheep Meadow is free, but, lazybones, so is this unique workout session. The DeRose Method teaches practitioners how to improve breathing, flexibility, strength and body awareness, and how to develop effective concentration and stress-management skills. Every DeRose Method class is different because it offers more than 2,000 different techniques, so you’re guaranteed to never get bored. Central Park, Sheep Meadow, enter at Central Park West and 67th St (718-532-6634, derosemethod.us). Sun 5--6pm. June 1--Aug 1.

Free yoga in the park
Say sayonara to the treadmill and remember what it’s like to breathe fresh air. Take your workout outside and experience complimentary Kripalu yoga, a system of hatha yoga that integrates body postures, breathing techniques and meditation. If that doesn’t relax you, the nature- and art-filled waterfront setting will. This workout is suitable for people of all experience levels. Participants should bring their own mat or towel. Socrates Sculpture Park, 32-01 Vernon Blvd at Broadway, Long Island City, Queens (718-956-1819, socratessculpturepark.org). Sat 9:30--10:30am, 11am--noon. May 9--Sept 19.

Free capoeira in the park
Try capoeira and you’ll get several different workouts in one: The 450-year-old Brazilian martial art combines dance moves, acrobatics and self-defense techniques. Professor Abar’s classes are designed for all experience levels; just wear comfortable clothing. Socrates Sculpture Park, 32-01 Vernon Blvd at Broadway, Long Island City, Queens (718-956-1819, socratessculpturepark.org). Sat noon--1:30pm. May 9--Sept 19.

Free racewalking
Pick up the pace with a racewalking clinic led by walking coach Lon Wilson, in partnership with the New York Walkers Club. Each session includes a warm-up, a cooldown and a stretch, and is geared toward all ages and levels. You’ll be outpacing tourists on the sidewalk in no time. North Meadow Recreation Center, midpark at 97th St (212-348-4867, centralparknyc.org). Sat 9:30--11am. Year-round.

City Running Tours
Add this to your list, multitaskers: You can now tour this endlessly interesting city while getting some serious cardio. NYC Run is a service that offers personalized guided jogs through Gotham. You decide the pace, distance and neighborhoods, and with the price of your tour comes a T-shirt, souvenir photo and new knowledge of your favorite town. Various locations throughout the city; visit cityrunningtours.com for info (646-216-9989). First six miles $60, each additional mile $6. Daily. Year-round.

Free Pilates mat classes
Bust stress and boost your breathing with a waterfront workout. No mat? No problem. You can borrow one here with a valid ID, but arrive early; registration for this class starts at 6:30pm and space is limited. If you show up too late and can’t join in, stick around and enjoy Brooklyn Bridge Park and its lovely views. Empire--Fulton Ferry State Park, enter at Main St at Water St, Dumbo, Brooklyn (718-802-0603, brooklynbridgepark.org). Tue 7--8pm, registration 6:30pm. July 2--Aug 25.

Fitness walking
Can’t resist swinging from every lamppost that you pass? Then this (free!) class is for you: This hour-long session in Fort Tryon Park specifically focuses on toning and stretching by using structures in the park as fitness equipment. Meet at Margaret Corbin Circle, Cabrini Blvd at Fort Washington Ave (212-795-1388). Registration required; e-mail Nancy at healthwriter2@aol.com. Tue, Thu 7:30--8:30am; Sat 8:30--9:30am. Year-round.

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