Coney Island/ Brighton Beach/ Sheepshead Bay

Make the city your concrete jungle gym

Workout without paying out. Photo via Flickr's arubow4

Joining premiums, monthly fees, equipment purchases, training sessions, class packages and website memberships can leave you chiseled, toned and broke as a joke. The average New Yorker spends $81 a month on personal care (namely fitness), but that doesn’t show the cost of the many New Yorkers who don’t devote any assets to fitness. Fortunately savvy Brokelynites know you don’t have to pay ANYTHING to get killer fitness results thanks to our beautiful borough before the weather turns too bad. I’m not a personal trainer or doctor,  but I do love fitness and think spending a fortune on it is crazy. Join me as I take advantage of some of our borough’s most beautiful and well-appointed outdoor workout venues, won’t you?

Location: Brighton Beach/ Coney Island Boardwalk

Amenities: Public bathrooms, fountains (your call …), vendors on Brighton Beach Avenue for bottled water and post-workout fuel, spray showers at comfort stations (the sand-rinsing kind, not the shampoo-kind).

Getting There: Q to Brighton Beach, Ocean Parkway, West 8th/NY Aquarium, Coney Island/ Stillwell; F to West 8th/ NY Aquarium, Coney Island/ Stillwell, D or N to Coney Island/ Stillwell



Photos by Keelie Sheridan.

The boardwalk spans 2.5 miles from its origins at Brighton 14th St. to its end at W 37th St. near Seagate. Run it, bike it, blade it, power-walk it or for maximum calorie burn, do the worm down and back. Beware of splinters. Running the 5 mile loop will burn 450+ calories depending on body weight/ speed. Calculate your expenditure here.


Use the benches with handles for stability planks (make them tougher by lifting a leg and making a serious face).

Or eke out a few reverse-crunches on the benches without arm-rests. Get inspired by this bench-workout video.


Great for barre work, like leg-lifts.

Also great for stretching. Learn some barre basics here.

Fitness Equipment (near W 10th Street)

Chin-up bars, vaulting poles and agility stations- enjoy! There are several instructional signs giving hints on how to use what.

Dry Sand

Get ready to feel the burn. Run, squat, lunge, bear crawl or simply powerwalk. Your calves will hate thank you for it. Doing the hot-sand-dance ups calorie expenditure.

Wet Sand

More stable than the soft sand, wet sand allows you to run faster and provides a sturdier base for body weight exercises like these. Bring a yoga mat or towel and enjoy a sea-side practice (gentle Hatha yoga burns appx 190 calories/ hour, while a rousing bout of Vinyasa can torch up to 600 calories/hour) . If opting to go barefoot, watch your step- a puncture wound from a disembodied crab-claw will ruin even the toughest athlete’s workout.

Do I have to do it ALL?

No. Yes. Maybe. Get the Center for Disease Control’s Physical Activities Guidelines for Americans for suggestions.

Health Bonus:

Brighton Beach Avenue hosts approximately one-trillion produce/ food shops- the over-saturation leads to superbly low-pricing and the Eastern European neighborhood demands exciting, imported new-to-you foods (canned squash, zucchini or eggplant paste, anyone?). Stock up on some staples before leaving the ‘hood.

Where would you like to see the next location of the Brokelyn Concrete-Jungle Gym? Need inspiration? Check out this list of the NYC Parks Department’s fitness equipment in Brooklyn parks.

Follow Keelie: @keeliesheridan 


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