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Menino kick starts free fitness series

Free exercise classes offered all summer at City Hall Plaza.

"There are no excuses," Mayor Thomas M. Menino told a crowd gathered in City Hall Plaza yesterday. "We are going to be the healthiest city in America."

But in order to do that, Boston will have to lose 1 million pounds, and walk 10 million miles this year.

Health officials joined Menino yesterday in kicking off Fitness on the Plaza, a summer-long program that offers free yoga and boot camp classes on the plaza.

The program is part of Boston Moves for Health, an ambitious campaign to reduce obesity in Boston by giving people access to free and low-cost fitness activities.

"We'll all be out there doing our exercises, and I'll be there also, as soon as I get my clearance. But I'm getting there," said Menino, who underwent knee surgery in 2010.

Instructors from Beantown Bootcamp and Health Yoga Life were on hand yesterday to lead dozens of motivated Bostonians in breathing, stretching and booty-shaking exercises.

"I think it's going to be a challenging goal," said John Wayman, founder of Beantown Bootcamp. "But I think that with the right direction, and the message being about consistency and nutrition, I really believe it is possible."

Menino said yesterday that he is willing to join his fellow Bostonians and step up to the fitness challenge.

"I've tried yoga once, and it was interesting. I'm getting over my knee injury, but I'll try yoga again," he said.

Technically, Menino did a little yoga during yesterday's kickoff event, when Health Yoga Life co-founder Vyda Bielkus led the crowd in a breathing exercise that asked everyone to raise and lower their arms.

Menino said he is confident that Boston will nab the title of healthiest city.

 
 
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