2013-12-27 / Columnists

Go Parks!

Have a Great New Year — and Then Join Us to Shape Up for Free All Year Long
By Sarah Cantatore

Adventures NYC. Photos courtesy of NYC Parks Adventures NYC. Photos courtesy of NYC Parks Want to start your year off right? Put a little extra power in your 2014 with Shape Up NYC.

Shape Up NYC is an incredibly successful fitness program operated citywide by NYC Parks in partnership with Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield, Equinox Fitness Clubs and NYC Service.

There are over 200 group fitness classes each week at more than 100 locations in all five boroughs. The program started at recreation centers but has since expanded to other facilities such as libraries, hospitals, community centers, public housing developments, schools, senior centers and more.

There are a variety of different class formats – Aerobics, Zumba, Bootcamp, Yoga, and Kickboxing – and all of the classes are completely free and open to the public, with no pre-registration required. Just show up and Shape Up!

Looking for a morning workout to get the day started right? Head to Herbert Von King Cultural Arts Center in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn for Tight & Right on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 9:00 a.m. to work up a sweat and get the heart pumping in a boot camp style class. If you’re looking for a light morning routine, you could try Chair Toning at St. Mary’s Recreation Center in the Bronx every Monday and Wednesday at 9:30 a.m. to build muscle and improve balance with little impact on the joints.

Stretch! With Shape Up NYC Stretch! With Shape Up NYC De-stress after a long day at work with an evening class. Breathe, stretch and relax with Yoga at Jacob Riis Ravenswood Cornerstone in Long Island City, Queens on Tuesdays at 6:30 p.m. Strengthen the core and increase flexibility with Pilates at Red Hook Recreation Center in Brooklyn on Thursdays at 6:15 p.m. Release the day’s frustrations with Sweat Therapy at Walker Park in Staten Island on Thursdays at 6:30 p.m. Burn up to 500 calories an hour with Zumba, our most popular class that can be found in every borough, at all times of the day. Get the hips moving at McDonald Park in Staten Island on Tuesdays and Saturdays at 9:30 a.m. In Brooklyn, the Latin rhythms are at full blast on Mondays and Tuesdays at 7 p.m. in Sunset Park Recreation Center. Learn to Salsa at Manhattanville Community Center in Harlem on Thursdays at 3:00 p.m., Samba over to Bayside Library in Queens on Mondays at 6:30 p.m., and Cha-Cha away your troubles at Lincoln Hospital in the Bronx on Thursdays at 5:30 p.m.

Shape Up NYC has classes for all ages. Seniors can improve balance, tone muscle, and get the blood flowing with aerobics at Hillcrest Senior Center in Queens every Tuesday at 10:00 a.m. and at West Brighton Senior Center in Staten Island every Wednesday at 11:00 a.m. As part of the NYC Girls Project, Shape Up NYC also offers free fitness classes just for girls ages 6-13 at West Bronx Recreation Center on Mondays and Wednesdays at 3:30 p.m., Al Smith Recreation Center on Fridays at 4:30 p.m. and Red Hook Recreation Center in Brooklyn on Mondays at 4:00 p.m.

Too busy during the week? Make time for fitness on the weekend! Have fun with Dance Fitness at Fannie Lou Hamer Freedom High School in the Bronx on Saturdays at 11:00 a.m. You can even work up a sweat on Sundays at Greenbelt Recreation Center with Zumba at 10:00 a.m.

Whatever your schedule or location, it’s easy to get fit and have fun with Shape Up NYC! For a complete list of classes, visit our website. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for the latest updates, photos, videos and more. Times and dates are subject to change. Shape Up NYC also empowers New Yorkers across the city to become group exercise instructors and lead their own Shape Up classes. In the Fitness Instructor Training (FIT) Program, participants complete a 10-week classroom training session and then lead a Shape Up class in their neighborhood for six months as part of a Shape Up NYC internship. The next session of the FIT Program will begin in April. Please e-mail shapeupnyc@parks.nyc.gov for more information.

Sarah Cantatore is a member of the NYC Parks Fellowship and Conservation Corps – a competitive 9- month paid fellowship program that features professional placements, service projects and professional development opportunities for those interested in pursuing careers in the environmental or public sector. She is also a Shape Up instructor who teaches Dance Fitness on Mondays at the Al Oerter Recreation Center in Flushing, Queens.

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