Looking to stretch yourself without stretching your wallet? Check out some of our favorite free and low-cost ways to have a healthy summer. Whether your idea of a work out involves dance moves, heavy weights, or downward facing dogs, Parks has a fitness program for you.
How to Get Fit for Less in NYC
We’ve chosen a few fitness opportunities for you to get started, but there are many more new activities to try.
The renovated Manhattan rec center is opening on June 17, with brand-new equipment, an indoor pool, a cardio room, and plenty of fun fitness classes.
Try more than a hundred free fitness classes each week across the five boroughs, all taught by expert instructors who know how to make fitness fun.
Here are a few of the great fitness opportunities currently going on at Parks.
Yoga in the Orangerie
Location: Pelham Bay Park, Bartow Pell Mansion, 895 Shore Road
Fridays, June 14 & 21, 9:00 a.m. – 10:15 a.m.
Wednesdays, July 10 – August 7, 7:00 a.m. – 8:15 a.m.
Stretch it out in one of the Bronx’s most picturesque locations. The sun-filled room in a preserved 19th century mansion will have you feeling at peace even before the yoga session starts. This class is appropriate for beginners, but you will need to bring your own yoga mat.
Location: Hunts Point Recreation Center, 765 Manida Street
Saturdays from 12:30 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.
No matter your age or ability level, you are welcome to visit the scenic, open Hunts Point Recreation Center to practice the Brazilian martial art of capoeira. Capoeira combines elements of dance, music, and traditional fight moves into a choreographed set of graceful steps. A recreation center membership is required to attend this class.
Van Cortlandt Track Club Saturday Morning Group Run
Location: Van Cortlandt Park
Want to run with a pack? Each Saturday morning the Van Cortlandt Track Club gathers for its weekly run through and around the Yonkers-Bronx border. They start with a loop of the park’s Parade Grounds and then split into separate groups that take on different paces and distances. At the end of their runs, everyone meets back up for a group breakfast.
Location: Owen Dolen Recreation Center, 2551 Westchester Avenue
Thursdays, 7:00 p.m. starting June 20
Zumba is an exercise class so fun it doesn’t feel like work. Through a combination of Latin, International, and popular dance moves, you can burn more than 500 calories an hour.
Teen Running Group
Location: Brooklyn Bridge Park
This running group is an excellent opportunity for Brooklyn’s young running enthusiasts. Try out some short-distance runs and track-based exercises along the beautiful Brooklyn Heights waterfront. The group’s exercises focus on form and stamina.
Pilates at the Prospect Park Boathouse
Location: Prospect Park, Audubon Center
Fridays, 12:00 p.m.–1:00 p.m.
Strengthen your core in style at this introductory-level Pilates class, which is offered in one of Prospect Park’s most picturesque buildings.
Location: St. John’s Recreation Center, 1251 Prospect Place
Thursdays, 10:00 a.m.
Get your heart pumping through this low-impact aerobics class, where you can sweat to classic line dances like the Electric Slide and Macarena.
Summer on the Hudson: Yoga - Evening Salute to the Sun
Location: Riverside Park South, Plaza at 66th Street
Wednesdays until Sept. 25, 6:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
There’s no more relaxing way to end your day than with this outdoor yoga practice on Riverside Park’s pier overlooking the Hudson River. No previous experience is needed, but if you want to join you should wear loose, comfortable clothing and bring your own mat.
Hula Hoop Aerobics
Location: Hansborough Recreation Center, 35 West 134th Street
Wednesdays, 6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Looking for a new spin on your old workout routine? Hula hoop aerobics brings everyone’s favorite childhood toy into a high energy, low-impact fitness class that will strengthen your core and upper body.
Zumba at Rockaway Beach
Location: Rockaway Beach, Beach 17 Street
Tuesdays, 7:00 p.m.
July 2-August 27
Is that a summer beach party, or your favorite new workout routine? “RockaZumbaWay” has become a popular word on the street and a hit evening beach activity for locals and visitors alike. Zumba combines dance moves with aerobics, and sets them to a Latin beat, helping you keep toned while learning some new steps.
Shape Up NYC: Couch to 5K
Location: Bowne Park Field House, 32nd Avenue & 159th Street
Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays 9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.
Dream of running a marathon but worried you’re not in shape? Couch to 5K is a beginner program for the aspiring runner, which combines running, walking, and conditioning exercises to get you in shape for long distance running. No registration is required.
Location: Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Playground for All Children
Saturdays, 10:00 a.m.
For those looking for an intense workout, bootcamp is a perfect fit. Designed to increase muscle strength and endurance, this workout is great for those looking to ramp it up with a fast-paced class. Not sure you’re up for it? While bootcamp will push you to challenge yourself, it can be modified for all fitness levels. Stay past the hour for a free yoga class as well!
Location: Willowbrook Park, Carousel for All Children
12:00 p.m.–1:00 p.m.
Are you looking for a low impact workout? People of all abilities can get fit while enjoying the outdoors with this free, low intensity walking program, led by an expert fitness trainer. There are Walk NYC programs throughout the city, but we’ll take any excuse to explore peaceful Willowbrook Park and its picturesque carousel.
Location: Greenbelt Nature Center (in Blood Root Valley)
10:00 a.m.–11:30 a.m.
Greet the new day with this relaxing soft martial arts practice. The tai-chi sessions at the Greenbelt Nature Center overlook Staten Island’s beautiful and inspiring woodlands.
Location: Walker Park
Mondays at 6:30 p.m.
Elevate your heart rate, build muscle, increase flexibility, and burn fat with this high-impact strengthening and conditioning class.
Lyons Pool Recreation Center
Location: Lyons Pool Recreation Center, Murray Hulbert Avenue
If you haven’t been to Lyons Pool recently, now’s the time to give it a try! Recent renovations have added a large and brightly lit cardio workout room with brand new fitness equipment such as step machines, elliptical, treadmills, upright and recumbent bikes, and a rowing machine.