Through its contribution to heart disease, stroke, cancer and diabetes, physical inactivity kills an estimated 6,300 New Yorkers each year. But… nothing says “be active” like a Zumba dance flash mob in the middle of Madison Square Park.
In June 2011, DOHMH partnered with the NYC Dept. of Parks & Recreation (DPR) to launch an active living campaign known as “Make NYC Your Gym.” The campaign, funded by ARRA dollars, encouraged New Yorkers to get moving using an array of free and low-cost fitness opportunities right outside their doorsteps in acres of parks, beaches, and bike paths. It also educated New Yorkers about how to incorporate physical activity into daily routines through simple lifestyle changes, like getting off the bus a stop early and walking to your destination. Plus, DOHMH and DPR revamped BeFitNYC.org, an online search engine that helps people find free and low-cost fitness near them. In addition to improving the site’s functionality and expanding the list of classes provided, the BeFitNYC Facebook application allowed users to create their own fitness events and invite friends and family to join. In the first year following the release of the new BeFitNYC.org, the website has received over 1,000,000 hits and over 3,000 fitness events were created on the BeFitNYC Facebook application.
Find your favorite way to Make NYC Your Gym. BeFitNYC.org continues to list hundreds of free fitness classes every week at dozens of locations across the five boroughs. Try aerobics, yoga, pilates, kick-boxing and other choices. For more information, visit BeFitNYC.org. DPR’s recreation centers also open their doors on the first Monday of every month – like today! – and welcome you with a day of free fitness programs and activities. You can swim, bike, step, jog, lift, volley, and more. For more information, visit Free First Mondays.
NYC Dept. of Health & Mental Hygiene, NYC Dept. of Parks & Recreation, and Fund for Public Health New York, Communities Putting Prevention to Work: Category A-Obesity