Free City Fitness Program Challenges Residents To Shape Up
Don't let your wallet stop you from making some real changes to kick off 2011. NY1 Health & Fitness reporter Kafi Drexel has more on a way you can find free classes all over the city and all you have to do is step up to the challenge.
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New Yorkers across the five boroughs are taking advantage of free fitness classes as part of the city’s Shape Up NYC Program.
Participants are weighing in for a 12-week "New Year, New You" challenge to promote fitness and healthier lifestyles. It’s similar to an old-school Presidential Fitness Challenge; to begin with, height, weight, strength, flexibility and body fat percentages are taken.
City Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe helped kick off the challenge by proving his own flexibility and strength. Fifty push-ups and dozens of sit-ups later he's hoping more New Yorkers will follow his lead in putting themselves to the test.
“One of the jobs of the Parks Department is to make sure people have fun and get fit,” says Benepe. “One of the ways we can do that is thanks to some great partnerships we have done with New York City Service and then with companies like Equinox is that we can offer free classes for people at 30 sites across the city so there is really no excuse not to try and get fit.”
After linking up with the Parks Department last year, Equinox Fitness Clubs has signed on for another full year of a wide range of free classes offered at recreation centers around the city.
Through April, participants of all ages can keep track of their weight loss, wellness, and nutrition goals.
“If I don't do it, my muscles are no longer healthy,” says participant Sharon Lynch. “There's more pressure on my joints. It's essential to being healthy and having a good frame of mind.”
“I think it is a good idea to see what happens in the next 12 weeks, to see how my measurements stand and how much more I improved,” says fellow participant Greg Taylor.
While the Shape Up program has be going for the past six years, what makes it different this time around is they are actually measuring everyone's success.
“To be able to have concrete measurements of progress is essential and it is extremely motivating for the participant,” says Carol Espel, senior director of group fitness at Equinox. “Once they see that 12 weeks doing this I lost weight, my heart got stronger, my body fat went down, my blood pressure, all of the things that are supposed to happen can actually be measured and tracked.”
Shape Up's "New Year, New Year" challenge runs through April 8th and free classes from Pilates to kickboxing and Zumba run year round. For more information, go to nyc.gov/shapeup.