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Free Exercise Classes Offered to Seniors Citywide

By Victoria Bekiempis | September 20, 2013 9:16am
 The City Park Foundation's Senior Fitness Program, which offers free exercise classes to New Yorkers 60-years-old and above, begins Sept. 23 2013.
Free Exercise for Seniors
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UPPER EAST SIDE — Senior citizens looking to work up a sweat this fall are in luck.

The City Parks Foundation's fall season of free exercise programs for New Yorkers age 60 and up — including tennis, yoga and "fitness walking" classes — launches Sept. 23.

Jon Gamberg, the foundation's sports program manager, said the six-week program will have its Manhattan offerings in Central Park, Carl Schurz Park, John Jay Park and Inwood Hill Park.

In The Bronx, classes will be held at Pelham Bay Park, Soundview Park and Van Cortlandt Park.

Queens seniors can check out the free courses in Astoria Park, Cunningham Park, Flushing Meadows-Corona Park and Roy Wilkins Park, while Brooklynites can participate at Marine Park and South Oxford Park. Staten Island's offerings will take place at Greenbelt Park.

The activities will be held bi-weekly at each park.

Gamberg said that about 5,000 seniors have taken advantage of the program since its inception in 2006. About 700 people participated during the 2013 spring season, he said.

"We're hoping to have just as many for this program in the fall," he said.

Though 2013's spring and fall programs are similar, Gamberg said the big difference is the addition of a program site in Inwood.

Gamberg, a Bay Ridge resident, encouraged seniors to participate for physical and mental wellness.

"Exercise in general will maximize the health benefits of being a senior," he said, such as "maintaining or helping to lose weight, reducing the risk of heart disease and diabetes, minimizing the symptoms of arthritis."

The social element of exercise can also help keep participants happy, he said.

"As you get a little bit older, you tend to get lonely, which can sometimes lead to unhappiness or depression," he said.

"This program really aims to get seniors to be more social and meet more people — and just be out there doing something fun."

For a complete schedule, visit the City Parks Foundation's website.