The New Year inspires a fresh start, new hope, and yes, resolutions. Among the most popular is exercising more.
The good news is you dont have to spend a fortune or be limited to an indoor gym. South Floridas public parks have a plethora of fitness programs, classes and outdoor areas for all ages and budgets.
The intent is to challenge the fitness fanatics or die-hards, while appealing to anyone who might be intimidated or turned off by the gym to move their bodies and become physically active to burn excess calories and fat, and build muscle in the process, said Doris Howe, manager of communications and marketing for Miami-Dade County Parks Recreation and Open Space. And mostly to get everyone engaged in recreational activities outdoors and reap all the benefits of being out in nature, which too many of us take for granted in our bustling urban environment or just arent aware of at all.
In addition to the county, many cities and municipalities offer a range of activities and resources to stay moving year-round. Here are some suggestions to get you going:
Fitness Zones are outdoor workout stations with a cluster of exercise equipment such as pull-up bars and leg machines permanently placed in an area of the park and are free to the public. For more information, visit http://www.miamidade.gov/parks/fitness-zone.asp.
AD Barnes Park, 3401 SW 74th Ave., West Miami
Blue Lakes Park, 4225 SW 92nd Ave., Olympia Heights
Concord Park, 3301 SW 114th Ave., Miami
Gwen Cherry Park, 7090 NW 22nd Ave., Liberty City
Gratigny Plateau Park, 885 NW 117th St., Miami
Ives Estates Park, 20901 NE 16 Ave., Miami
Jefferson Reeves Park, 3090 NW 50th St., Miami
Leisure Lakes Park, 29305 Illinois Rd., Homestead
Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Park, 6000 NW 32th Ct., Miami
Marva Y. Bannerman Park, 4830 NW 24th Ave., Miami
Oak Grove Park, 690 NE 159th St., Miami
Olinda Park, 2101 NW 51st St., Miami
South Dade Park, 28151 SW 164th Ave., Homestead
West Perrine Park, 10301 SW 170th Terr., Perrine
Remember when exercise was fun? Speed up the pace on the mountain bike trails at Amelia Earhart Park, 401 East 65th St. Hialeah Access is free and there are different levels of difficulty, from beginner to advance. There is a $6 parking fee per car for park admission on weekends. Bring your own bike or rent a mountain bike onsite, available weekends only. Rental fee is $25-$35 (including helmet.) For more information, visit www.miamidade.gov/parks/amelia_earhart.asp.
Two other spots for mountain biking: Oleta River State Park, 3400 NE 163rd St., North Miami, and Virginia Key Park, the island off the Rickenbacker Causeway, which has a 4.1-mile mountain bike trail. Both parks have trails for novices and experienced mountain bike riders.
YOGA, PILATES & ZUMBA
One Yoga Foundation is a nonprofit with the mission to spread the joy of the practice of yoga. Classes held at public parks are donation-based and taught by certified instructors. RSVP is required. For a full schedule, visit www.oneyogafoundation.org.
Kennedy Park, 2400 S. Bayshore Dr., Coconut Grove
Margaret Pace Park, 1745 N. Bayshore Dr., downtown Miami
North Shore Open Space Park, 7929 Atlantic Way, North Miami Beach
South Pointe Park, 1 Washington Ave, Miami Beach
Suniland Park, 12855 S. Dixie Highway, Pinecrest
The historic Deering Estate at Cutler, 16701 SW 72nd Ave., offers indoor and outdoor yoga classes from beginners to advanced levels that relax the mind and strengthen the body. Six-week sessions cost $60 (once per week) and there is a one-time $12 annual registration fee. New sessions begin Jan. 6- 9. Chair yoga is available for adults 18 and up at $45 for a six-week session. Deering Estate also has pilates and zumba classes available at $60 each for six-week sessions. For more information, visit www.deeringestate.org.
City of Miami Springs has an ongoing Drop In Yoga class at 8:45 a.m. on Saturdays inside its new Community Center located at 1401 Westward Dr. Cost is $5 per class. Other classes include jazzercise, swimming lessons and a second-story walking club with views of the basketball courts below. Check the citys website to ensure class schedule at www.miamisprings-fl.gov.
A partnership between the Coconut Grove Business Improvement District and Dharma Studio presents free yoga at 6 p.m. on Tuesdays at Peacock Park, 2820 McFarlane Road in Coconut Grove. Participants must sign a waiver and bring their own mat. For more information, call 305-461-1777.
Miamis first park, Bayfront Park, 301 N. Biscayne Blvd. in downtown Miami, hosts free yoga at 6 p.m. every Monday & Wednesday and 9 a.m. on Saturdays at its Tina Hills Pavilion. Classes are for all levels. Participants must be 18 and up, sign a waiver and bring their own mat. If it rains, classes are held in the Bayfront Park office. For more information, visit www.bayfrontparkmiami.com.
Several parks have swimming pools as well, such as AD Barnes at 3401 SW 74th Ave. and Tamiami Park at 11201 SW 24th St. The pools are open all year and some offer Learn-to-Swim classes for kids and adults (including those with disabilities). Swim fees at AD Barnes and Tamiami are $2.50 per adult/child and $1.50 for seniors. For more information, visit www.miamidade.gov/parks/facility-find_pool.asp.
Morning water aerobics at Charles Hadley Park, 1300 NW 50th St.; Jose Marti Pool, 351 SW Fourth St.; and Grapeland Water Park, 1500 NW 37th Ave. Classes are $3 for adults/$1 for seniors. These and other City of Miami pools also offer lap swimming, swimming lessons and recreational swimming. General admission to use the pool is $3 for adults/$1 for seniors and kids 17 and under/free for veterans and persons with disabilities. For more information, visit www.miamigov.com/parks.
Several parks host boot camps and personal training outdoors. Tropical Park, 7900 SW 40th St., is among the most popular with five different camps to choose from and many in the evening. Prices range from $15 for a single class to unlimited classes for a month for $80. Other locations with boot camps include AD Barnes, 3401 SW 74th Ave; Tamiami Park, 11201 SW 24th St.; Devon Aire Park, 10411 SW 122nd Ave.; and Kendall Soccer Park, 8011 SW 127th Ave. For prices and schedule, visit www.miamidade.gov/parks/sports/boot_camps.asp.
Led by The Downtown Athletic Club, Boot Camp in the Park is free at 7 a.m. on Tuesdays at the Tina Hills Pavilion in Bayfront Park, 301 N. Biscayne Blvd. For more information, call 305-358-9988.
The Tropical Park Demos Boxing Center at Tropical Park, 7900 SW 40th St., offers fundamental training for amateurs, with qualified coaches, equipment and the possibility to join the local team in competitions. Annual membership is $65 for 18 and older; $45 for 17 and under. Second location at 6940 NW 27th Ave. For more information, call 305-221-0678.
Indulge your senses and disconnect from city life amid South Floridas rich, natural beauty. Eco Adventures by Miami-Dade Parks takes residents and tourists on canoe tours and kayaking, bike and hike trails, snorkeling, camping expeditions through the Everglades, Oleta River, Key Biscayne, Coral Gables, Matheson Bay Shore, Redland, and more. Bring your own equipment or rent onsite. Explore on your own or take a tour, starting at around $25 per person. For more information, visit www.miamidade.gov/ecoadventures.
Miami-Dade Parks, in partnership with the Childrens Trust, provide after-school programs and season camps for children ages 6-21 with disabilities, including swimming, soccer and fencing. The Shoot for the Goal program uses sports training to teach teambuilding, proper technique and sportsmanship on Saturdays at Coral Estates Park, 1405 SW 97th Ave. Cost is $70 for 16 sessions. For more information, call 305-226-1622.
Miami-Dade Parks operates a free Wheelchair Tennis program for children 9 and up at the Big Five Club, 600 SW 92nd Ave. The classes take place on Saturdays from 9 to 11 a.m. For more information, call 305-752-4966.