Free outdoor fitness classes: Workout for free in NYC
Ditch your gym membership and slather on the sunscreen: The season brings plenty of alfresco ways to get in shape. Here's where to workout for free in NYC.
Tue Jun 18 2013
Take your exercise routine into the open air this summer with a bevy of outdoor fitness classes where you can workout for free. The gratis sessions—from conventional cardio to serene yoga and militaristic boot camp—will help you sweat off those extra cronut-induced pounds.
RECOMMENDED: Fitness guide to NYC
Hop on Bloomberg’s health-nut bandwagon with this year-round program of fitness activities, offered through a partnership between the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation, the Department of Health, NYC Service, Empire BlueCross BlueShield and Equinox fitness clubs. During the warmer months, plenty of the classes—many of which are taught by Equinox trainers—move from schools and community centers to the great outdoors. Learn to shake what your mama gave you at a Latin cardio-dance Zumba session at West Harlem Piers Park (125th St at the Hudson River; Sat 11am) or on Rockaway Beach from July 2 (Beach 17th St and Boardwalk; Tue 7pm). To work your core and build flexibility, try yoga in Astoria Park (19th St between Astoria Park South and Ditmars Blvd, Queens; Sat 11am). There are plenty more options across all five boroughs every day, so check online for the full range of events. Locations, dates and times vary; visit nyc.gov/parks for details.
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If you think picking up dinner instead of getting it delivered constitutes an outdoor adventure in NYC, think again: This weeklong open-air program seeks to connect you with nature in the urban jungle. An 18-mile hike from the Bronx to the World Trade Center (Sun 23 at 8:30am; meet at the corner of Allerton Ave and White Plains Rd, Bronx) should whip those calves into shape. If you’re a mariner at heart, sign up for kayaking on the Hudson (Fri 21 at noon; meet at Pier 66 at Twelfth Ave). And if it’s something off the beaten track you seek, head to Cunningham Park for mountain biking (Thu 20 at 6:30pm; meet at 67th Ave at 210th St, Bayside, Queens). There are more than 60 events including daily yoga and rock climbing, plus nutrition and travel workshops. Locations and times vary; visit outdoorrise.com for more information, including how to register. Through Sun 23.
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Variety is the spice of life, especially when it comes to your workout. That’s the idea behind FITiST, a membership-based service that aims to obliterate your routine by offering an assortment of boutique fitness classes in curated packages at various NYC gyms and studios. Try it out for free this summer, when you can sample a different offering every week at Hudson River Park courtesy of activewear brand Lolë. On Tuesday 25, Upper East Side studio the Fhitting Room leads a session of high-intensity training (HIT—get it?), a workout that will tone your entire bod with hard-core intervals of push-ups, kettlebell movements, resistance-band exercises and more. Shake up your regimen with 305 Fitness’s cardio dancing (July 9) and rigorous strength training led by Barry’s Boot Camp (Aug 6). Pier 25 (Hudson River Park), West St at North Moore St (fitist.com). Tue 6:30–7:30pm; through Aug 20 (no events July 23). Register at facebook.com/loleshowtiquenyc/events.
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Running needn’t be a solitary sport, especially with this weekly meet-up targeted at newbies and marathon veterans alike. Rally with fellow endorphin junkies bright and early in Union Square’s south plaza. The courses, which take 30 minutes to an hour, change weekly based on the group and instructor, and the distance builds over the summer with the goal of getting runners in shape for a 10K. During warm-up activities, the coach splits the group into beginner and advanced levels, and pacers help attendees do a six- to ten-minute mile, ensuring that no one runs alone. Staff from nearby sports-gear shop Paragon Sports will watch your belongings while you find your inner Usain Bolt. Meet at the Union Square Partnership Information Tent, 14th St between Union Sq West and Union Sq East (unionsquarenyc.org). Thu 7am; through Aug 15.
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Central Park is good for more than just picnicking and sunbathing: You can burn some calories using the green space’s benches, steps and lawns, sans weights or other gym equipment. The Central Park Conservancy (CPC) offers a choice of two trainer-led workouts every week, capped at 40 attendees each and open to all levels. Play Out is the more strenuous of the two, with a focus on cardio conditioning and strength building, while Bliss Out utilizes yoga-inspired moves to achieve peace of mind and a toned body. Only CPC members can register in advance, so show up early to claim your place. Can’t make the class? Check the website for a downloadable PDF of the exercises. Play Out: Meet at Delacorte Theater at 81st St; Tue 6:30pm. Bliss Out: Meet at the plaza on Central Park West and W 106th St; Thu 6:30pm. July 9–Aug 15. centralparknyc.org.