Coming on June 9, 2013: "Green Gym Day," the launch of my latest creation: an annual, international day of playing in the park.
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Coming on June 1, 2013, Join me for Hike the Heights 9, a celebration of the parks of northern Manhattan and the people who support them, love them, and live near them.
I began leading outdoor fitness groups in 2003. Since then, I have created programs for nonprofit organizations and for the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and Parks and Recreation. I have also created a yearly Sunset Yoga Program, and coordinated the Sunrise Tai Chi and Qi Gong programs through the Fort Tryon Park Trust and the NYC Parks Department.
Biophilia: The tendency for humans to be attracted to nature.
Green exercise: Physical activity in a natural setting, found to have synergistic health benefits.
European countries such as England and Scotland are already promoting “green exercise” because recent studies show that adopting physical activities while being exposed to nature (“green exercise") has a synergistic health effect. They realize that providing safe effective exercise opportunities in parks would be much more cost effective than building an equal number of new health clubs and could potentially encourage many more people to be physically active while complementing existing facilities.
Workouts with a View
For a breath of fresh air, take your workouts outdoors.
After years of being a gym rat, I've seen the light, so to speak. Parks are becoming a logical alternative environment for those who want to add variety to their work outs, or who just don't like the gym. And, it's an affordable way to increase physical activity opportunities, because there's nothing special to build.
Exercise with a view, in natural sunlight, with green scenery all around bestows health benefits that can’t be found indoors. Scientific studies have shown that the pleasure of being outdoors for example gives your brain, psyche, and immune system an extra boost.
So, who can argue with the pleasure of push ups with a view?
"The park is beautiful, the sunrise is lovely, the warm-ups and cool-downs are very helpful, it’s fun to walk in a group and I find I’m more likely to push myself than when I walk alone. The walk makes me feel good, and .. Nancy is personable, skilled, peppy and encouraging."
"I like the feeling of accomplishment and burst of energy I get from working out early in the day. I like knowing I'm getting two strength workouts a week, since this is the part I tend to neglect on my own. I also like that I now recognize more faces in the neighborhood and park, and have conversations with people I’ve met in the class. It does help create community."
"I really like the mix of upper body and lower body workout. I love the group format and look forward to seeing folks regularly. I hope this group continues not only for the fitness support it offers but just knowing more people in my neighborhood increases my enjoyment as well as sense of security living here. This is one of the best things going right now in this area and the park, with its natural setting so geographically central to Washington Heights and Inwood, naturally lends itself as a gathering place to build community."
"I’ve noticed a definite improvement—I can lift my 40-pound grandson without aches and pains the next day—my endurance is much better."
Year-round New York City Outdoor Fitness Programs