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Scenic running routes in NYC
Photograph: Shutterstock

Work up a sweat with these active ways to see the city

By
Annalise Mantz
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New York’s not necessarily known as a healthy city, what with all the bagel shops and dollar pizza places. We’re the first to admit that you’ll find better avocado toast and kale salads in L.A., cleaner air in Honolulu and buffer citizens in Washington, D.C.  

The one category where New York has ‘em all beat? Walkability. When you have to walk to the subway, the grocery store, the office and practically everywhere else you go, fitting in thousands of steps per day is just a side effect of life in NYC.

Gotham’s penchant for physical activity comes out when you’re sightseeing, too. Whether you want to meander through Central Park’s 800 acres or walk through miles of artwork at the Met, you’re almost guaranteed to be worn out at the end of the day. To really get your heart pounding and muscles aching, try one of these fitness-inspired ways to see the city. You haven’t lived until you’ve jogged across the Brooklyn Bridge!  

Lower Manhattan Bike Tour
SoulCycle aficionados and wannabe bikers will want to sign up for this seven-hour (!) cycling tour of Union Square, Greenwich Village, the Financial District, Brooklyn Heights and more. Come prepared for the ride of your life: By the end of the day, you’ll clock in more than 14 miles. Sounds like the perfect excuse to carbo-load with some of the city’s best pizza, if you ask us!  

Horseback Riding in Central Park
Giddy-up! Whether you’re a bona fide equestrian or only met one pony one time in a petting zoo, your guide will help you saddle up and set off on a trot through Central Park. Since you’re able to cover so much more ground on horseback, you’ll see much more of the park’s rambling paths and scenic woods than you would on foot.

Prospect Park Hike
Most tourists don’t realize that Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert B. Vaux, the designers responsible for Central Park, were also behind Prospect Park. Even fewer realize that Olmsted and Vaux considered the 585-acre green space in the heart of Brooklyn their masterpiece. See what all the fuss is about on a four-hour ramble down the park’s dirt paths.

Experience Harlem Bike Tour
Get to know the neighborhood as you pedal by the charming brownstones, gospel churches, gorgeous parks and local landmarks of Harlem. Along the ride, your guide will brief you on the Harlem Renaissance and even point out the houses where Maya Angelou and Langston Hughes used to live. Bonus: The route includes a stop at a famed local bakery, in case you need to refuel.

Power Hour: Central Park Sightseeing Running Tour
This isn’t your mama’s walk in the park. In between bursts of high-intensity interval training (or HIIT), you’ll run through the meadows and woods of Central Park for recovery (read: more calorie-torching activity). Bet you’ve never planked in front of Bethesda Fountain before.

Brooklyn Bridge Running Tour
Cover two boroughs on this four-mile jog across both the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges. You’ll run at a social pace so you can still peep the landmarks as you go—after all, if you’re not taking in the scenery, you might as well be running on the treadmill.

Central Park Sunrise Yoga Walk
Leave your beat-up yoga mat and dingy gym behind for more serene surroundings, like the blooming gardens and verdant fields of Central Park. Waking up for this 6:30am yoga practice might seem a little extreme, but it’s so worth it to see the park illuminated by the sunrise. Plus, has there ever been a more appropriate occasion for sun salutations?

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