By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Senior citizens will be doing the sun salutations in the great outdoors this spring, thanks to a popular fitness program sponsored by the City Parks Foundation.
The foundation is inviting residents aged 60 and over to take part in CityParks Seniors Fitness, a program that offers free yoga instruction, tennis lessons and exercise walks in New York’s parks to help seniors get into shape and to help those already in good shape to stay that way.
The program, which starts the week of April 28, is offered in 14 parks in the five boroughs. There are two Brooklyn locations: Marine Park in southern Brooklyn and South Oxford Park in Fort Greene.
At Marine Park, yoga classes will be held Mondays and Wednesdays at the Nature Center at Avenue U and East 32nd Street at 9 a.m. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, tennis lessons will take place at the park’s tennis center on Avenue S and East 32nd Street.
The over-60 set can enjoy free yoga instruction in South Oxford Park Mondays and Wednesdays at 11 a.m. at South Oxford Street and Atlantic Avenue.
The sessions last between one and two hours and free equipment is provided.
CityParks Seniors Fitness , which is operated by the foundation’s Sports Department, runs from April 28 to June 20.
The program is extremely popular with older adults, according to Nora Lanning, a spokeswoman the City Parks Foundation. “Seniors come, get some exercise, and strike up conversations with each other. They make friends. The program makes them healthier both in body and spirit,” she told the Brooklyn Eagle.
Participants are encouraged to maintain regular attendance to maximize health benefits. “There are people who take part four times a week,” Lanning said. “They go to one park for two days and then to another park on the other two days.”
CityParks Seniors Fitness began in 2006 and has served more than 3,400 seniors citizens over the past eight years. The program is aimed at encouraging New Yorkers to maximize the health benefits of staying active at all ages. Even in moderate amounts, exercise can help participants feel better, maintain or lose weight, reduce risk of heart disease and diabetes, and minimize the symptoms of arthritis, health experts said.
The City Parks Foundation works with the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation to improve neighborhood parks.
The senior fitness program is supported by Zwicker Electric, the City Council, and Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras (D-Elmhurst), in cooperation with the Parks Department. Ferreras is chairman of the council’s Finance Committee.
Founded in 1989, City Parks Foundation is the only independent, nonprofit organization to offer park programs throughout the five boroughs. The foundation works in over 750 parks citywide, presenting a broad range of free arts, sports and education programs. Its programs reach more than 600,000 people each year.
For information on the Seniors Fitness program call the foundation’s Sports Department at 718-760-6999. For details on City Parks Foundation, visit www.CityParksFoundation.org.