For Immediate Release
May 20, 2014
Parks and Recreation
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Interim Boston Parks Commissioner Chris Cook and Boston Public Health Commission’s Executive Director Dr. Barbara Ferrer, will be joined by Blue Cross Blue Shield Vice President of Corporate Citizenship Jeff Bellows on Monday, June 2, from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Christopher Columbus Park in the North End to announce the launch of the Boston Parks Summer Fitness Series. The three-month series will bring free classes to parks across the City, aiming to activate these spaces while increasing opportunities for physical activity across all of Boston’s neighborhoods.
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 2012-2013 Health of Boston Report, 21% 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 the Public Health Commission (BPHC) aim to decrease rates of obesity for all of Boston’s residents. In years past, BPHC has offered a multitude of free fitness classes, but most have been in the downtown area. By extending this opportunity into the neighborhoods, the Boston Parks Summer Fitness Series aims to further reduce barriers to active living and achieve our goal - to ensure that Bostonians across the City have ample opportunity to be active.
“We know that maintaining a healthy weight and being active is so important for overall health, but we also know how tough that can be to achieve,” said Dr. Ferrer. “We hope that the Boston Parks Summer Fitness Series can be a fun and interactive way to help people stay on track to meet their health goals by providing free fitness opportunities in the very neighborhoods where our residents live, work, and play.”
The June 2 kick-off event will feature two free classes open to all fitness levels. A high-energy, 30-minute Zumba class will be followed by an additional half-hour Boot Camp session. The classes will provide an introduction to all that the series has to offer Bostonians this summer – from salsa dancing to yoga, tai chi to Zumba Gold (a lower-impact Zumba class designed especially for active older adults). Fitness classes will be offered throughout June, July, and August at parks across the city.
All attendees at the kick-off event will receive a free pedometers provided by Blue Cross Blue Shield, resources and activities provided by City Sports, and healthy refreshments furnished by Clif Bar and Polar Beverages. Additionally, free water bottle refills will be provided courtesy of the Boston Water and Sewer Commission’s new mobile Boston Water Trailer. Information on healthy eating, active living, as well as copies of the Boston Centers for Youth and Families 2014 Summer Guide will also be available at the event.
Christopher Columbus Park is located at 110 Atlantic Avenue in the North End. The Boston Parks Summer Fitness Series is offered by the Boston Parks and Recreation Department and the Boston Public Health Commission with support from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts.