Why stay stuck in a basement gym or a stuffy room all the time, when you can keep things fun (even for free) in several spots across the city as soon as the weather announces the beginning of spring? New York is so dynamic and versatile in spirit, that it never gets old to take your training outdoors and enjoy the exquisite view, perhaps even in a different part of the city every time.
There are many options for park lovers, urban jungle enthusiasts and secluded nooks far from the city crowds, but before you do head out into the bustling streets, make sure you've adapted your workout for the outdoor atmosphere. Let's take a look at a few uniquely attractive spots you'll love in New York, especially when spring spreads its wings once again!
Move to a watery realm
Kayaking is one of New York's top ways to change up your routine every once in a while, and leave the comfort zone of firm soil under your feet, and free of charge. But before we delve into the details, novice kayakers need to know what they're up against – don't underestimate this noble skill, because it can be very harsh on your upper body and exceptionally demanding on your cardiovascular abilities.
If you'd like to add a kayaking session to your routine, how about a view of the Brooklyn Bridge? The Brooklyn Bridge Park Boathouse offers free kayaking sessions, so check out their calendars for the upcoming year to see which days are available. Kayak Staten Island also has lovely options, while the Hudson River also has two options, by the Manhattan Community Boathouse and the Downtown Boathouse, so you can take your pick.
Enjoy some rooftop yoga
Few things can dazzle quite like the New York skyline seen from above, and preferably in the wee hours of the morning, when most of the city is still asleep, or at least quiet enough for you to know you're not amidst the 9 o'clock crowd. And when things are in a rush, you can always move your routine a few floors up, and head straight to your building's roof for a wake-up yoga session.
No rooftop of your own? Several yoga clubs such as the Clay, YoYoga offer a workout with a view, as does the Hotel Indigo, whose lovely roof even has a name – Mr. Purple. Make sure you bring your mat, a bottle of water, and check the weather forecast for the day, as you don't want to be surprised by a chilly morning wind in your sleeveless top.
Yes, it's true, you don't have to spend all of your gym sessions stuck in a stuffy room with dozens of other people sweating in your face. Not that there's anything wrong with the concept, but when the heat starts to rise towards summer, you might find the change refreshing and challenging. With several well-equipped parks at your disposal, you have only to take your pick and commence your routine.
Be it in the Van Cortlandt Park, Linden Park in Queens, or you can even join "The Pack" in Central Park, where guided classes of high-intensity workouts will get you dirty and sweating in no time. And yes, they do use some of the standard strength equipment such as kettlebells, weights and battle ropes, so put on your sturdy bodybuilding clothes, bring your towel and get ready for some serious outdoor training!
Run, walk, stretch
If you're a true jogging enthusiast, and you cannot start your day without hitting the pavement, then the High Line can make for a brilliant change of pace from your regular 'round the block routine. Since it's located conveniently above the traffic, you can head there as early as the opening times at 7am and avoid the tourist crowds that will flock there later in the morning.
The Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx is a dream-come-true for those who prefer shorter distances of up to 400 meters, but also holds a cross-country route for those lengthy slow-paced runs over the weekend. If you're not a lone wolf and would gladly join a club, Nike offers guided running groups at Niketown New York.