With the temperature falling, New Yorkers are beginning to exchange linen dresses for bulky winter coats, tank tops for sweaters and gladiator sandals for knee-high boots. And it's not just our wardrobes that get altered as days get chillier-our exercise routines must be reinvented as well.
It's easy to come up with excuses when the thermometer drops. I know the winter workout struggle firsthand. A few years ago, I lost 132 pounds and began exercising daily. It's hard to keep up healthy routines but, luckily for all of us living and working in Manhattan, there are activities here for every fitness level, price range and desired goal.
Growing up in Arizona, I swam competitively. The sport is an unbelievable workout-who doesn't want abs like Michael Phelps? Most indoor pools are heated, and this low-impact exercise is a great for those who need a break from hitting the pavement.
If you're new to swimming, JackRabbit Sports (42 W. 14th St., betw. 5th and 6th Aves., jackrabbitsports.com) offers swim classes for water lovers of all ranks. The level 1 class begins Jan. 8, is offered Sundays in Union Square and costs $175.
On the other end of the spectrum, if you've swum competitively in the past and miss the action-packed workouts, try out Red Tide Swim Club (various locations, www.redtidenyc.org), a United States Swim Master's team with practices and workouts multiple times a day. Fees vary, from $110 per month for a minimum of two months, $140 for 10 swims or a $20 drop-in rate.
The Daily Stairmaster
One of the best fitness tips any time of year is to take the stairs. When I first moved to the city, I worked out with a personal trainer who had me sprint up and down the steps at the gym. The concept is easy, but it's the toughest workout I've ever done.
The best part of this is that you can do it in your apartment or office building. If you live on the fifth floor, walk up and sprint down every day. If you work on the 10th floor, walk down every day and walk up on mornings when you're not headed for a big meeting. Make sure to walk heel to toe-this will give you the best workout for your butt. It's estimated that you can burn around 300 calories in 30 minutes of walking stairs.
The Gym Route
It seems like there are as many gyms in Manhattan as there are nail salons, and it can be hard to find the right fit. To save some money but still have access to fitness equipment, join a New York City Recreation Center. There are locations all around the city, and membership ranges from $100 to $150 a year for adults. They give you access to everything from treadmills to full-sized pools-at 27 cents a day, the Alfred E. Smith Recreation Center (80 Catherine St., betw. Cherry and Monroe Sts., nycgovparks.org) is a bargain, especially if you only use the gym on the weekends.
If you're looking to hire a personal trainer and work out by the light of a disco ball, check out David Barton Gym (various locations, davidbartongym.com). They offer an alternative experience to most gyms; their personal training packages require multiple sessions per week, but they'll throw in the membership at no extra cost.
Walking It Out
If classes aren't for you and the thought of a run in the park seems a bit daunting, just walk! Even 60-90 minutes of moderate walking per day can lead to weight loss.
The High Line (Gansevoort St. to 34th St. betw. 10th and 11th Aves., www.thehighline.org) is a great place for a walk. Grab a cup of coffee (skim milk and two Splendas bring the beverage to less than 40 calories) and enter at Gansevoort Street in the Meatpacking District. The park creates a built-in course with defined beginning and end points, allowing walkers to track mileage.
The David Barton gym has the amenities of Equinox with the pizazz of a disco party. Locations are in Chelsea and Astor Place. PHOTo courtesy of David Barton Gym
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