When it comes to writing my blogs about living on Staten Island, I am always encouraged and excited when I find out about something new going on- a new program, a new small business, or a new event. What many native Staten Islanders don’t realize is that our communities are constantly evolving and changing, and as they do, so do the many programs and events that they offer.
One example of a city organization changing with the times is the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, which now provides free fitness classes at many Staten Island Parks locations.
A perfect place for fitness
I love the parks on Staten Island. Silver Lake Park and Clove Lakes Park are two of my favorites. They provide nice views, a calming atmosphere, and a place where I can exercise without having to worry about traffic or judgment or gym hours, etc. As a Native Staten Islander, I have been utilizing my neighborhood parks to get some much-needed exercise and fresh air for years.
My relationship with the parks that I go to is simple. I get myself out the door (which, when it comes to exercising, is the hardest part). I get in my car and take the five minute drive to the park. I jog or walk my normal “route,” enjoying the sights and sounds and the fresh air. In this relationship, the park plays a more passive role. All the park has to do is stay maintained and I am good to go. All I have to do is get there, and the park is always there to provide me with a wonderful space to exercise.
Not always the case
It wasn’t until I started researching the different parks and green spaces on Staten Island that I realized just how fortunate I am to have two of the North Shore’s largest parks within close vicinity to my home. If it weren’t for this ideal location, I don’t know where I would be in terms of daily exercise or my level of physical fitness. I am not really a “gym” person, so then I started to wonder about how my overall health would be affected if I did not live so close to these parks, where I have an ideal location to exercise.
Although the park has always been there for me- providing me with a place to relax and feel renewed- this is not the case for all Staten Island residents. Many of the neighborhood parks are simply not big enough to provide miles of running or walking paths. Many of the local parks are within a city-scape instead of a green landscape, and wouldn’t offer much in terms of relaxing sights and sounds. So, if my means of exercise involves stepping out of my door and making the short trek to Clove Lakes Park, what about those who don’t have access to a park nearby?
Taking a more active role
I think that this is where the NYC Department of Parks was at when they decided to offer free fitness classes at different parks locations across the city. They finally realized that many parks can’t and won’t ever be able to offer much more than a playground or basketball court (which is great- for children). In light of increasing obesity rates, and a decrease in people engaging in healthy fitness behaviors, I appreciate the active role the parks department has taken to encourage people to be more physically active.
Instead of the park being a passive space where people can go to at their own convenience, many locations are becoming more active in providing programs for people who would not necessarily utilize their local park. What’s even better is that these classes are free and are offered at many different locations, so the chances of one of them being in your area are pretty high.
Shape Up! NYC Classes
The following classes are offered across Staten Island (listed by location):
Christian Pentecostal Church Fellowship Hall
Core Strengthening & Toning- Thursday 6:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m.
Conference House Park
Couch to 5k- Saturday 8:00 a.m.-9:00 a.m.
Natural Movements- Saturday 9:00 a.m.-10:00 a.m.
Mind Body Fusion- Saturday 10:00 a.m.-11:00 a.m.
Faber Pool and Park
Zoomers- Monday 10:00 a.m.-11:30 a.m.
Greenbelt Recreation Center
Body Conditioning- Wednesday 4:30 p.m.-5:30 p.m.
Rock Your Seat- Tuesday 2:30 p.m.-3:30 p.m.
Zumba- Monday 5:30 p.m.-6:30 p.m. and Saturday 9:45 a.m.-10:45 a.m.
High Rock Park
Walk through the Greenbelt- Friday 6:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m.
Sculpting and Conditioning- Tuesday 7:00 a.m.-8:00 a.m.
Tabata Fusion- Wednesday 7:00 a.m.-8:00 a.m.
McDonald Park House
Zumba- Tuesday 9:30 a.m.-10:30 a.m. and Saturday 9:30 a.m.-10:30 a.m.
Body Blast- Monday 7:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m.
Zumba Toning- Tuesday 10:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m. and Saturday 10:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m.
Kettlebell, Core, and Conditioning- Monday 6:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m.
Stretch, Tone & Balance-Thursday 9:00 a.m.-10:00 a.m.
Zoomers-Thursday 10:00 a.m.-11:30 a.m.
Cardio Sculpt- Friday 7:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m.
Dance and Fitness Infusion- Saturday 1:00 p.m.-2:00 p.m.
Aerobics- Monday 10:00 a.m.-11:00 a.m.
Cardio Burn- Monday 5:30 p.m.-6:30 p.m.
Midland Beach at the new Splaza Area
Yoga by the Bay- Tuesday 9:00 a.m.-10:00 a.m.
Zumba- Sunday 9:45 a.m.-10:45 a.m.
Yoga – Relax and Stretch- Wednesday 7:30 p.m.-8:45 p.m.
Sweat Therapy- Thursday 7:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m.
West Brighton Senior Center
Low Impact Aerobics and Stretching- Wednesday 11:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.
Ageless Grace- Thursday 10:00 a.m.-11:00 a.m.
It is never too late to invest in your health and to start working towards a routine of life-long fitness. I love how the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation has launched a program that will encourage residents to utilize the city’s many parks in a totally different way! Visit their website (link: http://www.nycgovparks.org/programs/recreation/shape-up-nyc) for more details.
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