This is your summer to parade a beach body and it’s easier than ever with the seasonal spike in free exercise programs in New York. Since you’re already sweating from the heat, hit up these physique-and-wallet-friendly events being offered at a public park in your borough.
There’s nothing sweeter than the feel of grass under your toes, even when you’re working your butt off. Lululemon Athletica provides a high-spirited yoga class for all levels on the Bryant Park lawn on Tuesdays at 10 a.m. and Thursday evenings at 6 p.m. Also at Bryant Park: the Tai Chi Chuan Center gives instruction for all ages and experience levels Tuesdays at 7:30 a.m. by the Fountain Terrace and take a stab at fencing lessons, Wednesdays at 1 p.m., with the Manhattan Fencing Center. You don’t need the beach to play volleyball thanks to after work games organized by Battery Park on Wednesdays at 6 p.m. Inwood is part of Manhattan but it’s farther north than some parts of the Bronx, so here’s a bonus for those living at the tip top of the island: Inwood Hill Park offers breathtaking views of the Hudson River along with a breath-training Vinyasa series from nearby Bread & Yoga, as well as an additional yoga class on Wednesdays, Tai Chi Thursday mornings, and Family Capoeira on Thursday evenings.
There’s always something going on at Prospect Park and getting fit is no exception. Brooklyn-based yoga studio Bend & Bloom instructs on the Long Meadow Thursdays at 7pm from June until September. The Brooklyn Road Runners Club hits the trails in Prospect Park on Tuesday and Thursday evenings and weekend mornings. In nearby Sunset Park Recreation Center get an aerobic workout learning how to dance Zumba, a fusion of Latin, International and popular music as part of Shape Up NYC. Want to go hardcore? Enlist in free boot camp fitness classes at Bushwick’s Maria Hernandez Park Thursdays at 10 a.m.
Get fit and cultured at Long Island City’s Socrates Sculpture Park where you can view modern art installations as you partake in Hatha yoga Saturday mornings at 9:30 a.m. and 11 a.m., Capoeira on Saturdays at noon, and strengthening your upper body with kayaking lessons weekends from 1 p.m.to 5 p.m. There’s no such thing as a lazy Sunday anymore thanks to free Pilates at 10am and Tai Chi at 11 a.m. With a name like intensati this workout must get your heart rate going. Offered at the ARROW Field House, intensati combines high energy aerobics, martial arts, dance, yoga, and strength conditioning, and is available Wednesdays at 7 p.m. Get your groove on salsa dancing in Astoria Park on July 7th at 7 p.m. and Flushing Meadows Corona Park on July 8th at 6 p.m.
Women in the Boogie Down Bronx dance into shape at St. Mary’s Recreation Center learning high energy African Dance. Cool down in the efflorescent Wave Hill garden stretching with spiritual masters from the Integral Yoga Institute on Fridays and Saturdays at 10 a.m. Sprawling over 2,700 acres, Pelham Bay Park is the largest park in NYC and a must-see for any outdoor enthusiast. You can hike, canoe, or take a walking tour and there will still be more to explore.
The ferry is free and bathes you in views of lower Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty but it isn’t much of a workout. Instead, kayak and hike at Franklin D. Roosevelt Boardwalk and Beach on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays in June and July. Learn the best way to achieve your fitness goals with routines led by an instructor at Lyons Pool , Mondays and Fridays at 11am. Free tennis lessons for seniors who want to get there swing on at the Greenbelt Recreation Center .