Getting a workout in Central Park

Central Park Conservancy Walking and Hiking Program
April 11, 2008 1:38:47 PM PDT
Get a workout without joining a gym. There are no membership fees and no waiting in line for machines. All you have to do is head out to Central Park for free programs to get you moving and in shape.

Eyewitness News' Jeff Smith has more in this edition of "Be Part of Your Park."

If you ever want to get an amazing workout while enjoying some of the most beautiful scenery in the world, look no further than the North End of Central Park. The walking and hiking program, offered by the Central Park Conservancy, will challenge the body and the mind. Jill Price is one of the program coordinators.

"It's a new program, as of 2007, that was introduced to encourage people to exercise outdoors in the park," she said.

Michael Gonzalez-Wallace is one of the trainers.

"We do balance and coordination exercises to improve people's posture alignment, to improve their fitness and also their brain functioning," he said.

You'll walk over varied terrain for two to three miles, stopping for muscle-toning exercises along the way. Participants certainly aren't complaining!

"It's such an addictive thing to do, to take advangage of being in the park," walker Lara Dhalluin said.

"It has released a lot of the pressure I feel when I'm working, as well as it's given me a sense of confidence," walker Ilaria Bulgari said.

New guidelines from the American Heart Association and the American College of Sports Medicine recommend 30 minutes of moderate exercise, five days a week. Walking is a perfect way to meet these requirements.

And whether you join the walking program or you're just walking recreationally, you can determine the nubmer of steps you've taken by grabbing a pedometer at your local pharmacy. You can get one for less than $10.

"A 10-, 15-minute walk a day makes a big, big difference," Gonzalez-Wallace said.

Remember, exercise can do wonders for your health. And Central Park is the only gym we need!

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