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"Shape Up NYC" 2010

June 7, 2010 3:22:50 PM PDT
"Shape Up NYC" is a program by the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation aimed at helping New York City residents get fit and lose weight. The program has been in place for several years, but just got a big boost from partnering up with volunteer trainers from Equinox. Now, twice as many people are participating.

The program targets neighborhoods with high rates of obesity. It offers free exercise classes open to anyone who's willing to sweat a little. The classes are located in all five boroughs. The classes are on a range of topics, from yoga to hip hop, and from kicking boxing to cardio sculpt.

According to Kevin Jeffrey, from the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation, "We live in a town a country, a nation, a world where people are becoming more and more overweight, it's not a local problem by any means".

Residents at the senior center at Independence Towers are giving the program rave reviews.

Charlene West, a participant, said, "I enjoy it and it motivates you more, as you know, as you are getting older you'd be surprised [that] you thought you can't do things like you used to do, but you can."

Many of the seniors had never exercised before, but now make it part of their weekly routines. The group aspect keeps them motivated.

Johnnie Babb, a participant, said, "One of my friends told me today why didn't you tell me you were going, I would have come with you, I said oh I go every week, twice a week."

Other New Yorkers are praising the volunteer aspect of the Shape Up NYC program. Diahann Billings-Burford said, "Having programs like this one help those who volunteer cause we see what they have to give, and it helps those who are recipients of the volunteerism [with] a pressing need, we need to be healthy."

The Equinox trainers are happy with how the program is running this year. Patricia Moreno, an Equinox trainer, said, "Just the moving and getting up and that commitment to come and step out and do something different already starts to change your perspective and you then start making healthier choices about what to eat."

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To find more information and for class times and locations, visit www.nyc.gov/parks

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