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The Organized Outdoors

This time of year, I can’t bear to be inside on the treadmill or in some basement taking a spinning class. Are there any fun, organized, outdoor fitness options?

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For the very early risers, New York Road Runners (212-860-4455) has six-week outdoor sessions, administered by an Ironman named Scott Cohen, that combine biking and running. They meet at 6 A.M. Tuesdays and Thursdays on 84th Street and Fifth Avenue (behind the Metropolitan Museum of Art) and are divided by level of ability, which means you won’t be stuck lagging and gasping. Instructors are on hand for each level. The price is $140 for nonmembers, and you have to bring your own bicycle and helmet. For those without wheels, the club has running-only classes Tuesday and Thursday evenings, which meet at P.S. 6 (45 E. 81st St., nr. Park Ave.). That’s a ten-week course, divided by level, at 6:15 P.M. for beginners, 6:30 for intermediate, and 6:45 for advanced or competitive.

New York Sports Club (800-666-0808) also has outdoor running classes. An eight-session course is $215 for nonmembers, $145 for members. Level 1 offers tips on everything from footwear and injury prevention to form and endurance; level 2 focuses on training techniques, gait improvement, and speed. Runners meet at 7 A.M. Tuesdays and Thursdays at the branch on Seventh Avenue and 10th Street, and at 6 P.M. Mondays on 73rd Street and Central Park West. The club also offers an eight-session circuit class, using drills and props. Those meet at 7 A.M. Wednesdays on Seventh Avenue and 10th Street, and at 6:30 P.M. on 73rd and Central Park West, and then proceed outside.

If you like to socialize during exercise, check out the Empire Skate Club’s (212-774-1774) in-line-skating group. It meets at 11 A.M. on Sundays by the statue in Central Park facing Columbus Circle, and then heads out for a ten-to-fifteen-mile skate around the city. At least three leaders accompany each group, and they ask that participants bring helmets and wrist guards and their own skates. There is no charge for the group skate, but bring some cash; after the skate, the group heads out to brunch.

David Kirsch’s Madison Square Club (212-683-1836) holds a boot camp in Madison Square Park in the summer months. The workout includes lunges, squats, and other of Kirsch’s high-intensity cardio-sculpting moves that have kept Naomi Campbell and Heidi Klum in shape. Classes, which are $50 for nonmembers, are usually held on weekends. Call ahead for times and to reserve a space.

And if yoga’s your thing, the Sports Club/L.A. (212-355-5100) conducts sunset classes at 6:15 P.M. Tuesdays on the rooftop terrace of its East 61st Street branch, for members only. Crunch (888-227-8624) has “Sunny Salutations” yoga at its West 83rd Street branch—the class walks to Central Park and does poses under the trees. Crunch also offers “Walking Meditation,” which gathers at 10:30 A.M. one Saturday each month at the Lafayette Street club and combines 45 minutes of yoga with a meditation walk around Noho (all classes are $24 for nonmembers). It is, perhaps, a bit less strenuous than the other options—but at least you’re out in the fresh air.


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