In New York City, you don’t need to pay for a gym membership or Class Pass to stay fit. There are more than enough free exercise classes across all five boroughs, you just have to know where to find them. From fencing in Bryant Park to jumping rope at Brooklyn Bridge Park, here are some of the best ways to workout for free this summer in the city. Don’t forget about the other free things to do around town, from concerts to outdoor movies to city pools.
Pretty much the mecca of free fitness options in NYC, this program from the NYC Parks Dept. offers more than 350 free exercise classes five days a week across all five boroughs. No advance reservation required, just check out the schedule at the NYC Parks site and show up for classes ranging from Afro World Dance Fusion at the Harlem Hospital Center, to Bootcamp at the A.R.R.O.W. field house in Queens, to Spin class at St. John’s Rec Center in Brooklyn. Be sure to bring a lock to any classes held at recreation centers. More info here.
On Tuesday nights from now through the end of the summer, you can take one of three free 45 minute “Sweat Sessions” at Hudson River Park’s 14th St Park. The outdoor classes start at 6 p.m., 7 p.m. and 8 p.m., and range from pilates to barre to HIIT. Mats are provided on a first come basis, and make sure you show up early, as late entry isn’t permitted after five minutes. Post-workout, attend “cool downs” at local businesses in the neighborhood offering refreshments and snacks. Find the schedule here, and check out more free fitness offerings at Hudson River Park, including Sunset Swing and Salsa and the “Healthy on the Hudson” series.
If you like to get your exercise out of the way first thing in the morning, you can join these free early bird meetups hosted by fitness group The Rise NYC. Every weekday morning at 6:30 a.m. you can attend a different class, from Monday HIIT to Wednesday Core Body Workout. Locations vary across Brooklyn, Manhattan and Queens. Find more info here.
Now for something a little different: how about jump rope? Every Wednesday night from 7 to 9 p.m. at Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pier 2 through the end of the summer, Double Dutch Empire hosts free jump sessions. Ropes provided! Find more free Waterfront Workouts, which range from Broadway Dance to sunrise Abhaya Yoga, at Brooklyn Bridge Park’s website.
Channel Jason Schwartzman in “Rushmore” at these free beginner fencing sessions at Bryant Park, hosted by the Manhattan Fencing Center. Drops in are accepted if availability allows, but it’s a good idea to pre-register at Manhattan Fencing Center to secure your spot. Also on offer at Bryant Park: free yoga, bootcamp, Tai Chi and modern dance. Find the schedule here. And don’t forget free lunchtime performances from Broadway stars every Thursday at the park.
Get in a weekly post-work “Run & Chug” every hump day with this drinking-and-running crew. Wednesdays at 7 p.m., the group meets at a different Manhattan bar, goes for a run, and then has a drink at the same bar after. Join at Meetup.org, and remember to drink lots of water to replace the beers, lest Thursday morning hangovers becomes your summer bummer.
Get your asana on the grass Thursday nights in Prospect Park’s Long Meadow for their weekly community yoga classes, led by teachers from Lululemon Brooklyn, Bend & Bloom. Classes are held at 7 p.m. through August 31. RSVP required; do so here.