09/17/12 - 0 Comments
Three Reasons to Skip the Gym: Outdoor Exercise at Riverside Park
California friends—we all have them: those lucky, well-bronzed women who wake up every morning to do yoga on the beach. Ladies, we’ll be the first to admit that we spend more time than we should on Facebook looking enviously at the photos of our fair weather friends (we mean that lovingly) and their oceanside wellness regimen. Some of us, on the other hand, have to settle for a New York City gym—or so we thought. Actually, there are some really cool outdoor exercise programs going on right outside your door, too, and they’re free!
Thanks to the lovely people at Riverside Park, we urban East Coast girls can have just as much fun saluting the sun in our very own outdoor yoga class. Even if yoga’s not your thing (let’s face it, some of us will never be that flexible), that’s no excuse to miss out, since Riverside Park is also hosting riverside Zumba classes, as well as outdoor games of Human Chess. Take that, sunny California!
Let’s start with the Zumba classes (every Saturday in September, 11 am to noon), because, let’s be honest, the name has us incredibly intrigued. Part dance class, part aerobics endeavor, Zumba is a Colombian form of upbeat exercise that makes for the perfect morning warmup to an evening on the dance floor. Trust us when we say that this outdoor activity goes way beyond learning your basic two-step. Salsa, hip-hop, soca, samba, merengue, mambo, martial arts and Bollywood moves are all employed to keep you looking fabulously fit. Toss in a couple of squats and lunges and you’ve got the perfect recipe for some killer dance steps.
Then there are the Human Chess classes (every Friday in September, 3:30 pm to 5:30 pm) for those of us looking to add some strategy to our exercise routine. The idea’s kind of like that scene from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone where the young starlets take a rather active role in a game of Wizard Chess. Only, this time, you don’t have to worry about exploding rooks and killer pawns. Simply pick your favorite piece to represent and watch as chess becomes a team sport.
Finally, we come to the Evening Salute to the Sun (every Wednesday in September, 6:30 pm to 7:30 pm), Riverside Park’s own version of an outdoor Hatha yoga class. Honestly, we can’t think of a better way to wind down after a stressful day at work than to unroll our mats by the river (yes, you have to bring your own mat) and practice a brand of yoga that’s been around since the 15th century. Seriously, any kind of exercise that’s lasted over 7,000 years has to be doing something right.
Okay, so the Hudson River might not be the Pacific Ocean, but it’s still loads better than burning calories in the gym. This warm autumn weather won’t last long, so enjoy it with some unusual outdoor exercises. Bring a friend, or, better yet, your boyfriend—because, really, all guys are sexy when they’re sweaty. You’ll have to hurry, though, since there are only two weeks of September left!