Boston Parks Summer Fitness Series to expand classes in August

8/1/2014, 6 a.m.

In June, the Boston Public Health Commission and Boston Parks and Recreation Department launched their joint Boston Parks Summer Fitness Series with the goal of making free outdoor fitness classes more accessible to all Boston residents. From Salsa Dancing to Yoga, Tai Chi to Zumba Gold low-impact classes, designed specifically for active older adults, Bostonians have gotten moving this summer. Attendance rolls at classes in June showed that nearly 3,500 individuals participated. All-told, that’s about 210,000 minutes of physical activity bringing to life parks across the city.

Beginning this week, the Boston Parks Summer Fitness Series will expand their August schedule of free fitness sessions to include additional classes such as Commuter Bootcamp provided by Boston Sports Club and a Core Fusion class provided by Exhale Spa. Zumba and Boot Camp, held at Christopher Columbus Park in the North End, will also be extended through September.

The BPHC and the Parks Department will host a Re-Launch Celebration at Copley Square from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Monday, August 4, to celebrate the additional summer offerings. The Re-Launch Celebration will include free sessions of Boot Camp and Zumba along with fitness resources and giveaways.

Expanding fitness opportunities in Boston’s neighborhoods is among the City’s core strategies in combating epidemics of obesity, hypertension, and diabetes. According to the 2012-2013 Health of Boston Report, approximately 50 percent of all residents are overweight or obese. Extending classes into neighborhood parks like Franklin Park where Line Dancing has been offered each Wednesday this summer, has been a chief attraction for new participants. “There’s been an amazing turnout, between 50 to100 experienced and brand-new line dancers each week. One participant has already lost 30 pounds and made a real life style change,” said Christine Poff, Executive Director of the Franklin Park Coalition. “It’s so much fun, everyone’s having a ball.”

For a complete schedule of Boston Park Summer Fitness Series classes go to www.bphc.org or www.cityofboston.gov/parks. For updates, follow @HealthyBoston, @BostonParksDept, and #BostonMoves on Twitter.

The Boston Parks Summer Fitness Series is offered by the Boston Parks and Recreation Department and the Boston Public Health Commission with support from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts.