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“It’s a lifestyle, not a resolution,” say participants of free workout classes in New York City

On a recent Tuesday (January 14) morning, Jennifer Delsol took no prisoners on the way to her free Shape Up NYC fitness class at the New Settlement Community Center in the Bronx. 

“You cross the streets on the red lights,” she said. “You probably swear. ‘Get out of my way. I’m going to my dance class’.” 

A few years ago, Delsol made a New Year’s resolution to improve her health by exercising after a cancer diagnosis. 

Now, free of the disease, Delsol sees every New Year is an opportunity to renew that vow.

Attending free workouts became her lifestyle. 

“It’s helped me to stay a healthy weight.” Delsol said. “It’s a community. I meet people here. You know, I’ve been friends with people here.”

Turning resolutions into a lifestyle could be the key to keeping them. 

A study from Strava, a social network for athletes, showed that most people give up on their New Year’s resolution on January 19th, which the company calls “Quitter’s Day.”

But quitters didn’t seem to show up for the class on Tuesday (January 14). 

Participants said it helps – just like all Shape UP NYC classes across the five boroughs – that the class is free. 

“It’s all about removing the barriers so people can come,” said the city’s Department of Parks and Recreation director of fitness Kendra Van Horn. “They don’t have to worry about paying. They can find a place in their neighborhood that’s convenient.”

And even though most of the participants are regulars, many of them ask her for help with extra pounds after the holidays, said Shape Up NYC instructor Alba Mota, who led Tuesday’s class. 

“You know, some of them are like, ‘you know, over the holidays, I ate too much, and I gained some pounds. I gained 10 pounds, 15 pounds’,” Mota said. “And, here, I make them sweat. Like, here we’re gonna be sweating. You’re gonna be shedding those pounds within a month, you’ll see. You’re gonna see yourself already the way you were or even better.” 

(Production: Aleksandra Michalska)

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