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PR- 190-11
June 5, 2011


“Make NYC Your Gym" is a Weeklong Celebration of Fitness; City Launches New BeFitNYC Website for Free and Low-Cost Fitness Activities

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Linda I. Gibbs, along with Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas A. Farley and Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe, today kicked off the “Make NYC Your Gym” campaign, a city-wide effort to get New Yorkers moving by highlighting the vast array of free and low-cost fitness opportunities available throughout the five boroughs. To coincide with the launch of the Make NYC Your Gym campaign, the Mayor also announced the transformation of the BeFitNYC website, which helps New Yorkers find group exercise opportunities on New Yorkers can search BeFitNYC to find fitness activities in their community or across the city. Additionally, for the first time, New Yorkers can create their own fitness events to invite friends to or open to others through the integration of BeFitNYC with a Facebook application.

“New York City is a great place to get healthy and keep fit – anyone can make the parks, streets and sidewalks into their own personal gym,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “Many New Yorkers get their exercise while getting from place to place, on foot or by bike. In addition, we want to make it easier for people to get together for group exercise, which is why we turned BeFitNYC into a social networking tool. This week-long celebration of fitness should demonstrate how easy it is to incorporate physical activity into everyday city life.”

“Exercise is so much easier and more fun to do with friends. BeFitNYC is a tool that makes it easy to invite friends to meet up for regular exercise,” said Deputy Mayor Gibbs. “My regular yoga classes and volleyball group can set our dates through this easy-to-use site. The ‘meet-up’ function will help us keep each other honest by making sure we show up, and we’ll all be the healthier for it. I encourage all New Yorkers to challenge their friends to use BeFitNYC to join fitness activities or create their own events.”

“Physical activity plays an important role in both physical and mental health, yet most New Yorkers are not getting nearly enough of it,” said Commissioner Farley. “Exercise, even as simple as walking for 30 minutes a day, five days a week, can reduce your risk of a number of chronic diseases, including high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, some forms of cancer and osteoporosis. Through BeFitNYC, I encourage New Yorkers to join me, Deputy Mayor Gibbs and other City officials in this communal effort to join or lead a fitness group. We hope that our involvement will prove by example just how fun and rewarding these types of activities can be.”

“New York City is the ultimate gym,” said Commissioner Benepe. “There are hundreds of parks, athletic fields and recreation centers along with thousands of miles of greenways, hiking trails, and bike lanes to take advantage of. I challenge all New Yorkers to get outside this summer and get active.”

Nearly 30 percent of city residents report engaging in no physical activity. Through its contribution to heart disease, stroke, cancer and diabetes, physical inactivity kills an estimated 6,300 New Yorkers each year. In addition to reducing one’s risk of disease, staying active helps to maintain healthy weight, strengthen bones and muscles and improve mood.

In addition to getting physical activity through organized fitness classes, the Make NYC Your Gym campaign reminds New Yorkers that even everyday tasks can present easy ways to get fit. For example, New Yorkers can walk or bike to work or school or to run errands. Residents can take public transportation and get off a stop or two before their destination and walk the rest of the way. Climbing the stairs instead of using the elevator or escalator is another readily available way to incorporate physical activity into daily routines.

New Yorkers can also track their miles to see how quickly they lap some of the City’s most iconic landmarks: Brooklyn Bridge (1.1 miles), Washington Square Park (.5 mile perimeter), Yankee Stadium (1 mile circumference), Jackie Onassis Reservoir (1.58 miles) or the Coney Island Boardwalk (2.5 miles).

New Yorkers looking to be active with other members of their community can search BeFitNYC on or download a new Facebook app to find or organize a wide range of free and low-cost classes and groups, such as WalkNYC walking clubs, yoga meet-ups, after-work runs and free Shape Up NYC Fitness classes.

Make NYC Your Gym launch week events include a Zumba flash mob fitness activity in Madison Square Park on Monday, June 6; a commuter cardio session at the Staten Island Ferry Terminal on Tuesday, June 7; a fitness challenge in West Harlem on Wednesday, June 8; a walk around St. James Park in the Bronx on Thursday, June 9; a Shape Up NYC Cardio Sculpt class at St. John’s Recreation Center in Brooklyn on Friday, June 10; a Shape Up NYC outdoor Zumba class in Flushing Meadows Park in Queens on Saturday, June 11; and a culminating BeFitNYC Fitness Festival in Washington Square Park throughout the day Sunday, June 12. In addition to all these outdoor events, all Parks Recreation Centers will be free and open to the public for the week.

More information on Make NYC Your Gym and BeFitNYC launch week activities can be found at


Stu Loeser   (212) 788-2958

Susan Craig/Zoe Tobin   (Health Department)
(347) 396-4177

Vickie Karp/Meghan Lalor   (Department of Parks & Recreation)
(212) 360-1311


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