Fitness in the Parks
The summers are so short in our city that we really should cherish every moment we can be outside without a snow brush. Swap throwing yourself on the couch with the remote in one hand and your phone in the other for fitness in the park. Independent Health and YMCA Buffalo Niagara paired up to create fun ways to stay active and spend time outdoors. The best part, it’s extremely affordable – FREE! There are parks in Amherst, Buffalo, Cheektowaga, Clarence, Jamestown, Lewiston, Lockport, Orchard Park, and Tonawanda that offer free fitness classes, so you shouldn’t have to drive far to participate.
I stick with the classes at Bassett Park, Delaware Park and Canalside because those are the locations that I’m close to or often hang out near. I tried a Zumba class with my mom and sister at Bassett Park (Mondays and Wednesdays at 6pm) and loved the high energy music and the motivating instructor. We spent most of the time laughing and “improvising” as we liked to call it. You don’t need to be a professional salsa dancer to work up a sweat at Zumba, you just have to try. The instructor explains the moves step-by-step, and then you follow with the music to the best of your ability. If you’re not too fond of working out, this is a great class for you to try. You get a good workout, but it’s exciting, entertaining, and fun! I barely realized I was working out… until the soreness set in the next day. Main Street Town Park in Clarence has a similar option on Fridays at 10am called Cardio Dance.
If dance isn’t your thing they have a bunch of other options from which to choose. For a high energy, tough workout, try a Bootcamp class. Be prepared – this class is challenging, but rewarding. It focuses on pushing yourself to achieve your best workout. Cardio Kickboxing mixes martial arts and boxing for a stress relieving workout (only offered in Ellicott Creek Park in Tonawanda on Thursdays at 6pm).
If you like to focus more on the meditation end of the fitness scale, try yoga or Pilates. Work on your strength and balance with Pilates or enjoy a gentler version with Yoga. Yoga focuses on relaxation and reduces stress. Perfect after a long work week. I’ve always enjoyed yoga, but I had a hard time focusing or really relaxing when I was taking the class at a gym. I could always hear another class going on, but taking the Yoga classes in the park would be relaxing with the fresh air and no interruptions from the instructors yelling in the cardio class next door. The outer harbor sounds most intriguing to me. Waterfront with the sun beaming down on you is the perfect setting for a tranquil start to a Sunday Funday (Yoga at the Canal is on Sundays at 10am).
Check out the schedule below to get out of the gym ho-hum and enjoy the great outdoors.