The Boston Parks and Recreation Department and Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC) will launch the 2016 Boston Parks Summer Fitness Series sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield on Wednesday, June 1, from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Copley Square.
The three-month series brings 21 free fitness classes per week to parks in 11 different neighborhoods across the city, aiming to activate these spaces while increasing opportunities for physical activity across all of Boston’s neighborhoods.
“At Blue Cross, our vision is for all Massachusetts residents to live a healthy lifestyle by increasing their access to positive environments and experiences that inspire healthy eating and physical activity,” said Jeff Bellows, Vice President of Corporate Citizenship and Public Affairs at Blue Cross. “The Boston Parks Summer Fitness improves the quality of life and health for Boston residents by providing activities which are fun and accessible to people at all fitness levels. We are proud to partner with the City of Boston on this innovative program.”
While Boston was ranked the sixth healthiest city in the country in the American College of Sports Medicine’s 2013 American Fitness Index, obesity rates remain a challenge. According to the 2014-2015 Health of Boston Report, 22% of adults and 14% of high school students are obese. These rates are even higher among communities of color. Only about half of adults in Boston report exercising regularly.
By engaging in a citywide effort to increase opportunities for physical activity, the Parks Department and BPHC aim to decrease rates of obesity for all of Boston’s residents. This year’s series looks to build upon previous program efforts by expanding the number of parks that offer free classes to city residents and making them more accessible to all neighborhoods. In extending this opportunity into the neighborhoods, the Boston Parks Summer Fitness Series aims to further reduce barriers to active living and achieve the goal of ensuring that Bostonians across the city have ample opportunity to be active. The June 1 kick-off event will feature a free high-energy, hour-long Zumba class open to all fitness levels and provide an introduction to all that the series has to offer Bostonians this summer including salsa dancing, yoga, tai chi, Zumba, boot camp, line dancing, and more. Polar Beverages will provide free water at the event. This year’s series will include classes specifically for seniors, children and families. Fitness classes will be offered from June 6 to September 2.
For a full schedule of Boston Parks Summer Fitness Series classes go to www.bphc.org/summerfitness. For updates, follow @HealthyBoston, @BostonParksDept, and #BostonMoves on Twitter.