Stay Fit During the Fall and Winter
As outdoor temperatures fall, finding the motivation to get outside and exercise gets tough. Many of the activities we enjoy during the warmer seasons are impractical or entirely unavailable during fall and winter. To make matters worse, Seasonal Affective Disorder ( SAD), causes many people to feel down during the seasons when there is less natural sunlight, making it even more difficult to stay motivated. Finding a workout buddy or making friends in a group fitness environment can help to hold you accountable and stave off those winter blues, but you’ll still need a place to work out. Here are some free and low-cost indoor options to help you stay active all season long:
Shape Up NYC: Shape Up NYC is an NYC Parks program that offers free fitness classes across all five boroughs. You can see the schedule of classes in Washington Heights-Inwood on Get Healthy Heights by clicking here: Shape Up NYC
BeFitNYC: BeFit NYC is a search engine for free and low-cost fitness activities. You can find more information about BeFit NYC on Get Healthy Heights by clicking here: BeFitNYC
Ice skating: Okay, so this activity is not indoors, but it is one outdoor activity that you can only do during the winter months and a great workout, so take advantage. Perhaps the closest affordable option, Riverbank State Park has a little-known covered outdoor skating rink. Entry costs are $5 per adult and $3 per child, and skate rentals are available for $6. The park’s address is 679 Riverside Drive, and the northernmost entrance is at Riverside Drive and 145th street. Call (212) 694-3642 for information. Note that opening and closing dates for the season may be dependent upon the weather. You can find more information about the Riverbank State Park on Get Healthy Heights by clicking here: Ice Skating
Indoor Pools: Those who love to swim will be glad to know that Upper Manhattan has a couple of indoor pools that are open year-round. Swimming is an especially great choice for those with arthritis pain, as being in the water can take a lot of pressure off of achy joints. For more information about Upper Manhattan recreation centers with indoor pools on Get Healthy Heights click here: Riverbank State Park and for other Recreation Centers with indoor pools in the area click here: Hansborough Recreation Center.
NYC Parks Adapted Aquatics Program: The NYC Parks Adapted Aquatics Program is available for those who need an adaptive activity. You may have to travel a little further for this option, as the closest sites are in the Bronx and East Harlem, but those who make the trek can get free water safety and swimming instruction. Registration spots are filled via a lottery, and the current session is now closed, but you can still apply for the winter session, which runs from January to March. Click here to find more information about the NYC Parks Adapted Aquatics Program on Get Healthy Heights: NYC Parks Adapter Aquatics Program. For more information about the program or if you want to apply for the lottery, call (718) 760-6969, extension 0.
For Seniors: Many options are available to seniors in upper Manhattan through the above listed Shape Up NYC and Be Fit NYC, but there are also a couple of programs that are entirely dedicated to older adults:
City Parks Foundation: The City Parks Foundation has a Seniors Fitness program that offers free instruction in yoga and tennis as well as fitness walking groups. Program offerings occur twice per week in eight week sessions. Click here for more information about the City Parks Foundation on Get Healthy Heights: City Parks Foundation. You can also call the City Parks Foundation’s Sports Department at (718) 760-6999 or email them at Sports@CityParksFoundation.org.
SilverSneakers: SilverSneakers is a fitness program designed exclusively for seniors. It is offered by many health insurance plans, including some Medicare plans. Benefits of the program include membership to a participating health club; SilverSneakers group fitness classes, health education seminars, and access to a website that offers support for health and fitness goals such as smoking cessation, stress reduction, and weight loss. Check with your health insurance company or Medicare plan to see if this program is included in your policy. For more information on Get Healthy Heights about the SilverSneakers program and a listing of insurance companies that participate in SilverSneakers, click here: SilverSneakers Information Alternatively, you can check your eligibility and learn more about the program here: SilverSneakers
Finally, let’s not forget that there is a lot of active fun to be had outside even after the snow starts to fall if you can stand the cold. Grab your family or your friends, bundle up, and head out to play. Sledding, snowman building, snow angel making, and snowball fights all count as exercise, and you’ll be having so much fun you’ll hardly notice.