By Tim Gorta
MANHATTAN — Mayor Michael Bloomberg wants New Yorkers to use the city as their personal gym.
For the weeklong "Make NYC Your Gym" campaign that kicked off Sunday the city created a website and Facebook page to encourage residents across the five boroughs to get out and exercise.
"New York City is a great place to get healthy and keep fit – anyone can make the parks, streets and sidewalks into their own personal gym," Bloomberg said in a statement.
"Many New Yorkers get their exercise while getting from place to place, on foot or by bike," Bloomberg continued. But city officials also suggested New Yorkers could make better use of parks and other athletic facilities to get fit, and also opt to take the stairs instead of elevators or get out of the subway a few stops early and walk the rest of the way to their destination.
According to the city, nearly 30 percent of residents don't engage in physical activity, which contributes to heart disease, stroke, cancer and diabetes. Regular exercise not only helps reduce the risk of disease, the city said, but also improves one's mood.
The BeFitNYC Facebook app allows users to post activities and events on the page's wall, and also create groups to bring people together to work out.
In addition, the city is hosting various events around the city to encourage residents to be active during Make NYC Your Gym Week. Among them are a Zumba "flash mob fitness activity" in Madison Square Park on Monday and a fitness challenge in West Harlem. The week will conclude with a fitness festival in Washington Square Park, city officials said.
For more information and a schedule of activities, visit nyc.gov.