palm trees in Miami

Ah, South Beach, Miami in winter.

I’m no stranger to the Art Deco paradise of South Beach, Miami, but I’ve never written about it from an outdoor fitness point of view. You could say that all of South Beach is an outdoor gym. But there are a couple of places that make it even easier and more fun to Nancercize.

See also posts about staying in shape in Portland, Oregon and The San Francisco Bay Area. And here are more tips on staying fit while you travel.

The Bars on the Beach
My first stop on this visit was the exercise bars on the beach, since I had a date with the fabulous Barstarzz! “What are Barstarzz?” I hear you asking. Aha… caught you! You haven’t been reading my column in the Manhattan Times (

Some time ago, I met the Barstarzz founder and CEO, Eduard Checo, in NYC. Barstarzz ( is an international team put together “to inspire the world to workout.” They use what they call “Creative Calisthenics,” in other words, a fun and simple way to stay in shape that provides “endless opportunities to expand and be creative to keep pushing the body to its limits.”

To say the Barstarzz are a friendly group would be an understatement. Yes, I had an introduction, but anyone who shows up at the bars on Ocean Avenue and around 9th Street can expect to be welcomed and to have all the help they need in getting started on the bars.

Nancy Bruning and Barstarzz

Me and the Barstarzz. Ain’t we tough?

While there, I planned to create a little video about making the transition from working on the benches to working on the bars. So my bar workout was of the beginner variety. But anyone can do a little something–what’s great about using the bars is that they really challenge you and take you in a new direction. So under their guidance I did one baby chin-up with an assist. I did horizontal pull ups on the parallel bars. And I did double-leg tucks on the parallel bars. Whew! (Video to come.) This was challenging enough for me but some people might find that just hanging from the bars is sufficient. If you’re not in the mood to try even that, no worries—join the daily audience sitting on the wall in awe of the pull ups, chin ups, muscle ups, dips, flags, planches, handstands, twirls, and all manner of seemingly impossible things.
Barstarzz gold medalist Alexia Evans and friend

Barstarzz gold medalist Alexia Evans and friend

“Adult Playground”
Next, I paid a visit to the new “adult playground” at 5th Street, just a few blocks south from the bars on the beach. Touted as the hot new thing to get the obesity epidemic under control, it felt a lot like a typical gym. While there was none of that sense of camaraderie and joy that emanated from the bars area, the few people that were using the free equipment seemed to enjoy the open air. Each time I visited the “playground” I saw no interaction or conversation going on. That might be your cup of tea, and hopefully a lot of other people will find it the perfect peaceful alternative to a noisy, stuffy, crowded gym. Here’s my take on the pros and cons of adult playgrounds.

Miami "adult playground"

South Beach Miami adult playground–are we having fun yet?

South Pointe Park Amoebas
Finally I made my way to South Pointe Park. This relatively new development has got wide-open spaces, with plenty of surfaces to do Nancercizes. It even has two new benches (?) that looked like amoebas, but a woman was doing some push-ups and sit-ups so I say hooray for amoebas! While I was there I found out about a new pier that was to be completed in a year. Hopefully benches and other features will be useful for impromptu Nancercizing during a walk or run along the boardwalk or beach. For sure the shaded pavilions will make sunny day workouts more comfortable. And the turtle-safe lights that go on tonight will give us more hours to use the pier whether we’re in the mood for push ups or something else.

South Pointe push ups

These amoeba-shaped benches at South Pointe Park in South Beach Miami were just made for doing push ups.

Everything Else
Of course the entire beach, the ocean, and the boardwalk are made for outdoor activities and I took advantage of them all. All along the boardwalk are places to stop and stretch or do anything that’s on the menu for the day. Beach volleyball too.

South Beach Miami curb for Nancercizing

I have no idea what this is but it’s perfect for all sorts of Nancercizing

The beach is wide and long and you could walk or run forever. Bike riding is a common site, and now South Beach is one of those progressive towns that has bikes for hire (Decobikes) by the hour-–all automated at various stations around town–and you can use your credit card!

Miami Beach shaded benches and bikes

Miami Beach smartly shades its benches and new rental Decobikes.

Need I say the ocean was splendid?
Miami ocean view

Time to rest!

What are your favorite outdoor places to exercise in Miami? I’d love to try them the next time I’m there!

2 Responses to “Traveling in the Miami Beach Area: 3 Secret Places to Nancercize”

  1. You’ve got a great way with words, Nancy… I’m still chuckling! Great post.


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