The city program offers free classes like aerobics and yoga without registration at various Brownsville locations
Photo credit: NYC Parks

It is National Senior Health and Fitness Day — a great opportunity to remind aging Brooklynites that regular physical activity is one of the best ways to protect and improve their health. 

The NYC Department of Parks and Recreations offers year-round a range of free drop-in fitness classes like aerobics, yoga, Pilates, Zumba and much more under its Shape Up NYC initiative. The city-wide program also takes place at various locations in Brownsville.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that seniors regularly engage in at least 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise, two days of muscle-strengthening exercises and three days of balance-training exercises each week.

Aerobic exercises can range from walking, dancing, swimming, biking to even recreational activities like gardening. To strengthen muscles, older adults can work with exercise bands or hand-held weights; do pull-ups, push-ups and sit-ups; or dig, lift, carry items while gardening. Excellent ways to train balance can include basic exercises like walking backward and sideways that you can easily incorporate in your daily routine.

The important aspect is to keep it moving — so take a look at the list of go-to places in Brownsville.

  • Aerobics at Betsy Head Field House: A cardio exercise class that combines strength and toning exercises for various fitness levels. Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays | 9:00am – 11:00am | Betsy Head Field House, Livonia Ave between Hopkinson & Amboy streets
  • Aerobics at Van Dyke II Senior Center: This moderate heart-pumping workout burns calories and improves heart health. | Tuesdays – Fridays | 11:00am.-12:00pm | Van Dyke II Senior Center, 430 Dumont Avenue
  • Functional Fitness at Brownsville Recreation Center: This exhilarating fitness class is designed to build physical, mental and spiritual muscle, and is adaptable to any fitness level. | Wednesdays, 9:00am – 11:30am | Brownsville Recreation Center, 1555 Linden Boulevard
  • Step Aerobics at Brownsville Recreation Center: A moderate, low-intensity workout intended to help you burn calories! |Wednesdays,  7:00pm-9:00pm | Brownsville Recreation Center, 1555 Linden Boulevard

Also older adults, who cannot do 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity a week because of chronic conditions, should be as physically active as their abilities and conditions allow, the CDC emphasizes.

“It is never too late to start being physically active,” writes the CDC in its Physical Activity Guidelines. “Being physically active makes it easier to perform activities of daily living. Promoting physical activity and reducing sedentary behavior for older adults is especially important because they are the least physically active of any age group, and most older adults spend a significant proportion of their day being sedentary.”

That means: Move more and sit less throughout the day, keeping in mind that some physical activity is better than none. For more tips on how to get and remain physically fit at any age and additional city resources, go here.

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