The Cheapest Gym in NYC

Winter is over! After spending months inside avoiding the cold and darkness, the human body craves the outdoors. Yet finding time to enjoy the fresh air is not always easy. We all have busy lives and setting aside an hour to roam Central Park and breath in the fresh air is probably not so high on your to-do list.

So even with the warmer weather, we still find ourselves shuffling between our cramped apartment, overpriced gym and depressing office. There is a simple and FREE solution to this problem…

Exercise Outdoors!

outdoor_gym
John V. Lindsay East River Park

Working out in the open-air gives you a double shot of endorphins and the post-workout bliss is twice as good. On top of that, it’s free. So freeze that overpriced gym membership for the summer and get outside.

This post will help you do just that by revealing the best running loops and outdoor workout spots in Manhattan.

Running Loops

  1. East River Path South
  2. East River Path North
  3. West River Path
  4. Edward Koch Bridge
  5. Williamsburg Bridge
  6. Manhattan Bridge
  7. Brooklyn Bridge
  8. Central Park Outer Loop
  9. Prospect Park (Brooklyn)
  10. Liberty Park (Jersey City)

Outdoor Gyms

  1. Central Park
  2. Chelsea Park
  3. Asser Levy
  4. Tompkins Square Park
  5. John V. Lindsay East River Park
  6. Cherry Clinton Playground

Running Loops

Note: All distances calculated using On The Go Map

(1) East River Path South (East 34th to Battery Park)

Distance: 4.75 miles

A beautiful winding path along the East River. Some sections require navigating some rough and uneven pavement, but for the most part, it is well maintained and entertaining. This route is ideal for early summer mornings. Watching the sunrise over Brooklyn is an ideal way to start your day.

(2) East River Path North (East 63rd to East 125th)

Distance: 3.4 miles

Another wonderful place for sunrise runs and it’s less crowded than the East River South path.

(3) West River Path (Battery Park to George Washington Bridge)

Distance: 12.5 miles

The crown jewel of outdoor activities in Manhattan. An absolutely beautiful path that runs uninterrupted along the entire western coast of Manhattan. Ideal for sunset runs. Also very well-lit for nighttime and dawn runs. Can be very busy towards the southern part of the path due to the numerous tourist attractions downtown. Highly recommend checking out the section between West 72nd and West 125th.

(4) Ed Koch Bridge

Distance: 1.8 miles (one way)

Great for a weekend run because you can stop and spend some time on Roosevelt Island.

(5) Williamsburg Bridge

Distance: 2 miles (one way)

Offers great views of the East River Path and Williamsburg. A great way to incorporate some “hills” into your running regime. There is a separate path for walkers/runners and it is not nearly as crowded as the more touristy Brooklyn Bridge.

(6) Manhattan Bridge

Distance: 1.5 miles (one way)

Offers great views of downtown Manhattan and Dumbo. A great way to incorporate some “hills” into your running regime. There is a separate path for walkers/runners and it is not nearly as crowded as the more touristy Brooklyn Bridge.

(7) Brooklyn Bridge

Distance: 1.5 miles (one way)

Iconic tourist attraction. Would not recommend running here unless you go at 5 AM. At any other time, it is a complete nightmare and packed with people taking photographs.

(8) Central Park Outer Loop

Distance: 7 miles

This is an obvious one, but there is something special about running through Central Park. Can be crowded on the weekends and there is almost always a 5K or some other organized race happening. Best to go early morning during the weekdays.

(9) Prospect Park (Brooklyn)

Distance: depends on path

The Central Park of Brooklyn. Great place to run as there are many small paths going through the forest areas. Every time you run here you will end up taking a new route.

(10) Liberty Park (Jersey City)

Distance: depends on path

Offers great views of downtown Manhattan. Big and open grass area. Nice change up from Central Park and significantly less crowded.

Outdoor Gyms

(1) Central Park (Ross Pinetum 86th Street West of Great Lawn)

Outdoor workout facility in the middle of Central Park’s “forest”. Very basic equipment, but can’t beat a workout in the middle of NYC’s nature jewel.

(2) Chelsea Park (West 28th and 9th Ave)

Basic playground which can be used for bodyweight workouts.

(3) Asser Levy (East 25th and FDR Drive)

Mini turf field (50 yards) and basic outdoor workout stations. Includes pull up bars, dip bars and ab benches.

(4) Tompkins Park (East 10th and Ave B)

Basic jungle gym outdoor workout facility. Many serious calisthenics enthusiasts here who are usually willing to give you some bodyweight workout ideas.

(5) John V. Lindsay East River Park (East 5th and East River)

Brand new running track and turf field. Next to the track there is also a jungle gym outdoor workout facility. Includes parallel bars, monkey bars and ab benches.

(6) Cherry Clinton Playground (Cherry Street and Clinton Street)

Includes pull up bars, dip bars and ab benches.

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