The Root's Healthy Cities: New York

From biking to vegan soul food, there's plenty going on in the Big Apple to supplement a healthy lifestyle.

Posted: 08/01/2012 05:16 PM EDT
The Root's Healthy Cities: New York

(The Root) -- If you belong to any sort of subculture, New York City undoubtedly has a community to fit your needs. And as Americans refocus on living healthier, the Big Apple often sits at the forefront, experimenting with raw-food restaurants and food-specific laws geared to reducing obesity -- like the controversial municipal ban on large sodas that Mayor Michael Bloomberg recently proposed. So if you're looking for a healthy city, here's a bit of what the Big Apple has to offer.

Where to Work Out

It's hard to find time to exercise as an adult -- between work and home, there's not much wiggle room. Fortunately, the Big Apple has plenty of locations to squeeze in even just a 30-minute run.

Boasting 24 locations, the YMCA has options across Manhattan and each of the other four boroughs. Using the Bedford-Stuyvesant location (1121 Bedford Ave., Brooklyn) as an example, there are a number of trendy classes, such as kettlebell workouts and African dance, to warm your muscles and trick your mind into viewing a sweaty workout as a slice of fun. The hot summer months are also a great time to take advantage of the pool, whether through a water aerobics class or just getting in some laps.

Thanks in part to Woody Allen films, Manhattan's Central Park is world famous for its majestic beauty, but it's also rightly renowned for its jogging and biking paths. And the park isn't New York City's only outdoor reserve for getting your heart pumping.

Brooklyn's Prospect Park loop (95 Prospect Park W.) welcomes a Road Runners club, both during the week and on weekends, where local joggers link up for sprints. Elsewhere, botanical gardens are in full bloom in Staten Island, Queens, Brooklyn and the Bronx, which has two locations. If you'd like to take a walk, New York City's Parks & Recreation has a breakdown of each park's options, from the most historical locations to the most romantic.

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(Photo: Diane Collins and Jordan Hollender / Getty Images)