Thursday, July 1, 2010

"July Should Be Our 'Get in Shape Month!'"

When A. said this to me a couple weeks ago the first thing I wanted to know was, "Why??" After rattling off a few benefits that won't be repeated here, he said that it'd be nice to be fit for our California trip at the end of the month. Good point considering I'll be breaking out the bikini again, wearing a hot dress to a wedding and meeting the bf's whole family. Plus I have to admit, I'm just not as physically active as I should be and perhaps an exercise buddy would help.

When I had the complimentary month-long membership to Equinox back in March, I fell in love with the gym...and when April rolled around, I fell right back out. So now I'm trying to figure out ways to get in shape without spending a dime and keep my interest going as the weeks go by. Luckily, the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation's BeFitNYC initiative includes Shape Up NYC, which offers free fitness classes including yoga, pilates, aerobics and kickboxing (just make sure to call ahead and see if the program requires advance registration or rec center membership). Recreation centers throughout the city also open their doors at no charge on the first Monday of every month under the BeFitNYC Free First Mondays program.

Intense outdoorsy types can head over to the Alley Pond Park Adventure Course for challenging ropes courses and obstacles that will give both your body and mind a workout. Or you could hang with the Urban Park Rangers for free hikes, walking tours and canoe outings.

And all this doesn't even include the programs some parks regularly host throughout the week! Bryant Park, for example, has free tai chi, yoga and fencing classes before and after work. So basically I have no excuse not to get in shape right now, but to kick things off, A.and I will go for a jog tonight (after we each pick up our tailored outfits). For a taste of how this will go down:

- I don't run. I haven't had to run more than two blocks since high school when gym teachers made us go for a mile in order to pass some sadistic test. I managed those without a problem, but that was 10-14 years ago.

- I can sprint, but only if my train or bus is at the stop. Then I'll spend the rest of the commute heaving and fighting to get my heart back into my chest while trying to look as if I run marathons for a living.

- I could probably speed-walk and reach my destination faster than if I tried to run. Plus, it's been too hot to breathe over here so let's see how I maintain any will to keep this up through July. But hey, if it turns out running just isn't my thing, I could walk on my own or join Walk NYC, which hosts free fitness walks in several park locations with trained instructors.

So tell me, how do you stay fit in the summer?



  1. I have been looking for a workout buddy for a while now. Unfortunately most of my friends have children who they feel the need to pack along on the workouts. Not.Cool! So I ran out and bought every DVD Jillian Michaels has and now have her app on my iPhone. I must say that it's doing me a world of good... and without screaming kids! I'm hoping to be all fit and hot by the time I go on vacation at the end of this month.

  2. I'm going to be doing walking (probably alone) and swimming (probably with obnoxious little dweebs whose parents have wandered off...)

    :) I guess my exercise "tude" shows huh?

  3. I bought the Physique 57 workouts from the gym there in New York. They are amazing and would be even moreso if I would actually commit to doing them on a regular basis. You can see a difference quicker than anything else I have tried though! I envy you all in New York though because you can walk so much. Here if you walked down the street it is quite likely you will get abducted! :(

  4. The only issue with "fitness month" ideas is that you have to make sure it sticks. Because there's no point just doing fitness stuff for a month or so. Commit to a healthier lifestyle, that will be better for you, both in the short term and the long term.

    As for me, I go for at least a short walk every day... Rain or shine... And go for long walks as and when I can. I would go for a run, but running with a cane just doesn't work.

    The trick is to try and eat a healthy diet... Don't stop treats, but make them "treats" rather than part of your daily food intake. And get regular exercise. Be it walking, running, going to the gym, or whatever. Find what works for you, and stick with it. Not just for the month, butall the time.
    The only time I don't walk is when it's been snowing and nobody will come with me, and that's only because I can't find the path to follow in the snow, and it makes using my cane impossible, so it makes knowing where I am and where I'm going impossible.

  5. I really want to try that adventure course!! I used to say "I don't run" or the slight variation "I don't run, I have knee problems" all the time too, but now, I run an average of 15-20 miles each week. And I love it. But I've also discovered that the best thing for me is not to run on a treadmill or just around the block several times -- I need to make myself run far from I'm forced to run back. I've also changed my diet and eat five smaller meals now. The hardest thing is exercising in the heat; San Diego is always gorgeous but when I'm home in NJ, the humidity really affects how I breathe and therefore how far I can run that day. Needless to say, I have lots of early morning runs.


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