Friday, May 18, 2012

Fitness Challenge: Day 65

When New York City has a 'top 10' day, it can be hard to head inside to a sweaty gym. Luckily, Captain Quinn's Fitness Boot Camp offers outdoor boot camps at J.J. Byrne Playground in Park Slope.

When my oldest daughter started 6th grade at the adjacent William Alexander Middle School, the park was a neglected, dispiriting place that we avoided at all costs. But a dynamic new Executive Director at the Old Stone House transformed the park into a glittering neighborhood jewel.

The field behind the Old Stone House was a dusty, ill-used patch of depression that was carpeted with turf and enjoys near round the clock use. A couple of boot camps start there at 6am, the middle school uses the space for outdoor gym and soccer and baseball leagues take over in the afternoon and evening.

The playground in front of The Old Stone House reopened last week, with innovative climbing equipment, swings for big and little kids, and gardens of flowering plants and shrubs.

All in all, the park is an extremely pleasant place to get your butt kicked into shape.

For the outdoor boot camp, we used resistance bands to work our arms, shoulders and backs, sprinting to cones to get our heart rates up.

The middle schoolers at gym giggled as we did frog jumps or held planks with one foot raised, but they might have been envious of our fitness levels.

My youngest daughter graduated from the school last year. She would have been mortified to see me with a bunch of sweaty adults, counting off jumping jacks.

But I was as happy as a kid at a brand new playground.

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