The treasure hunt started on a cold day the winter of 2014

The treasure hunt started on a cold day the winter of 2014


Did you know that there’s a free gym right in your own neighborhood park? And that fitness mapping is a new way to find the hidden potential in any outdoor space? While every community and business can benefit, this approach is especially needed in city parks, in neighborhoods that lack health clubs. Now, everyone can afford to go to the gym and bring their friends and family for free to enjoy healthy hidden treasures.

Fitness mapping takes a fresh look at ordinary outdoor spaces and sees the potential ways that people can use what’s already there as “exercise equipment.” We don’t always need to install special gym machines, which are expensive, require maintenance, and can only be used for one thing: exercise. Fitness mapping on the other hand only requires only an open mind, and the ability to see and explain how park benches, walls, curbs, steps, railings, and paths can be used as the foundation for innovative workouts.

I created my first green gym fitness map for Fort Tryon Park—10 different routes and 10 exercises and stretches to do along the way–and we had a big outdoor fitness party to celebrate its first printing in 2008. Now I’m happy to announce the latest fitness mapping project will be ready for a big party on Saturday, September 27th, in Morningside Park located in New York City’s Harlem.

Together with the Friends of Morningside Park (president, Brad Taylor) and youarethecity (designer Kaja Khuel), and funded by the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control via the Partnership for a Healthier New York, the map and brochure reflects the unique characteristics of that park, including lots of stairs and scenic overlooks. In a new twist, we’ve also designed banners with exercise instructions, which will be installed NYC Parks Department as soon as they give final approval to the design.

Are we having fun yet? Testing the map among park users, with project team members Kaja Khuel and Brad Taylor

Are we having fun yet? Testing the map among park users, with project team members Kaja Khuel and Brad Taylor

Tne Fitness Guide has three routes, color-coded to coordinate with the 10 stretches and exercises:
• The Serenity Stroll (blue)—Low-key and relaxing; the straight, level path includes 3 blue-coded stretches suitable for beginners, seniors, and anyone who wants to feel less stress. 2/3 of a mile long.
• The Power Path (yellow)—All-round complete body workout; brisk walk or run the straight level path with path with loops at each end, pausing to do the yellow-coded bodyweight strengthening and stretching exercises. 1 mile long.
• The Energy Circuit (red)—Intense, fat-burning, and revitalizing. Travel up and down the stairways through the upper and lower paths of the park, including the 2 red-coded cardio-boosting exercises; add the others for a total experience. 2 miles long.

Sneak preview of part of the fitness map.

Sneak preview of part of the fitness map.


Plus exercise guidelines, tips, and more.

Come get your free copy of “Your Green Gym—A Fitness Map and Guide to Morningside Park.” I’ll be there to do an exercise demonstration and answer questions about how to find the hidden gym in YOUR park.

Common Ground Festival
Saturday, Sept. 27, 2014
1 – 6pm near the pond in Morningside Park at 114th and Morningside Avenue in Manhattan.

Join the Friends of Morningside Park and the Harlem and Morningside Heights communities as we gather for a fun day of activities and performances for the whole family in Morningside Park. The Common Ground Festival has been an annual community event sponsored by the Friends of Morningside Park for over 20 years!
They will be posting more details about the event on their homepage at www.morningsidepark.org and on their Facebook page.