Stay healthy and fit while visiting New York
There’s one thing you should know when visiting New York: food temptations are everywhere. I mean BURGERS, DONUTS, ICE CREAM, you name it! And most portions can be slightly bigger then you’re used to…On top of that New York is a BIG city. Getting from A-to-B is usually not a 10-minute walk, so taking the subway or hopping into a taxi can be a convenient solution. How can you stay in shape and feel fit while visiting New York?
In this blog post I have listed 5 easy tips that will help you maintaining a healthy balance. These tips do NOT involve doing sit-ups in your room or me telling you to stay away from burgers. Don’t worry! Mix and match the tips below and find out what works best for you.
1. Explore the city by bike
Taking the public transport might be a good solution if you’re trying to see as much as you can in a short period of time, BUT remember you’ll be stuck under the ground and not seeing a lot of NY while traveling. I would really recommend replacing some of your subway rides with bike rides.
Rental bikes are everywhere and getting one is super easy and affordable. Usually, you do need the internet to make a reservation and a credit card for payment. During our two-week trip, Michel and I rented the Citi Bike because it seemed that it had plenty of locations to park the bike throughout the city.
Biking in New York can be a little challenging. Try to rent a bike outside of Times Square, because the traffic around that area is really busy and chaotic. In general I noticed a lot of bikers wear helmets. It’s not obligatory to wear one (except for children under 14), but please do if you feel like you need one. Also make sure to get yourself familiar with the rules for bikers. Personally, I wasn’t used to having bike lanes on my left side, in the middle of two car lanes or between sidewalks! Most bike lanes are easy to recognize by their green color or the print of a bike on them.
Whenever you start to feel lost when cycling, just have a small break. Take some time to look at your map (or Google Maps) to see where you need to be heading. Navigating and cycling at the same time is dangerous. Also you probably won’t enjoy your route as much when you’re stressed out and don’t know where to go.
Check out NYC Bike Maps (to find out where bike lanes are located) or download a bike map (so you have an offline version to take with you). Once you get the hang of it cycling in New York is so much fun! Michel and I noticed we saw a lot more of the city AND we got some extra exercise in the mean time.
2. Walk as much as you can
Walking in New York is my personal favorite way to explore the city at your own pace. Free city maps are nearly everywhere (most hotels offer free maps as well) or just simply download a NY city map.
I understand you may not have the time to walk everything, but it might be possible to plan some short scenic walks, like:
- Visit a park like Bryant Park, the High Line, Battery Park, Hudson River Park, a piece of Central Park or the Brooklyn Botanical Garden. There are many lovely parks and they look stunning throughout the year.
- Go see a particular neighborhood and visit everything by foot. Especially, Greenwich Village, Meatpacking District, West Village, Upper East Side and Battery Park City are very nice areas for sightseeing.
- Check out one of the beautiful museums New York has to offer. Most of them (The Met, the Guggenheim Museum or MoMa) are quite big so you’ll be doing plenty of walking.
- Sign up for one of the many photography tours in the city and join a tour.
- Go for (a guided) street art tour to check out individual murals (East Village Walls), interesting Banksy art or visit an entire area (the Bushwick Collective) filled with graffiti.
3. Plan short activities during the day
Participating in an activity can be really enjoyable and it’s an awesome way to meet new people!
These are my favorite activities (and most of them don’t feel like an actual exercise either, yaay):
- Join a guided bike tour and learn more about the city at the same time.
- Go to Central Park for boating or join a yoga class among the many activities this park has to offer.
- Go ice-skating at Bryant Park, the Rockefeller Center or Prospect Park.
- Go for a swim in Staten Island at South Beach or Midland Beach.
- Try out your skills during a surf class at the New York surf school.
- Find your way out in time in one of the exciting Escape Rooms in New York.
- Get ready for some indoor sports, like paintball, laser tag or arrow/axe throwing at the Indoor Extreme Sports at Long Island or Staten Island.
- WARNING. This activity is actually going about visiting the gym. Just in case you’re interested! Lots of local gyms offer a free work-out. You can sign up for all kinds of free classes (yoga, pilates, kickboxing, crossfit, spinning etc.). And some gyms even have free day passes available so you can come in whenever you like.
4. Bring/prep your own meals
If you’re up for a long day of exploring the city it can be very smart to bring your own food. We all have felt the craving for food after you FINALLY made it out of that large H&M. So, why not prepare yourself so you won’t get hangry? Get some healthy snacks at a super market (like Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods), a local food market (Grand Central Market, Union Square Greenmarket and Smorgasburg) or a food hall.
Easy and healthy options to bring along can be fruit, veggies, raw nuts, raw bars, yogurt or a small bar of pure chocolate. If you don’t have a fridge in your room consume it right away or only buy the ones you can actually keep in your room. Put a selection in your bag every day and you’re good to go! It saved me from a lot of hangry moments during our trip.
It might also be a good idea to prep a meal, like a breakfast or lunch, you can easily enjoy eating later that day. Michel and I loved doing this and spent a good few days enjoying our meals in one of the gorgeous parks in the city. Make sure to bring a meal box/jar and cutlery with you.
Easy meals to bring along are oatmeal, yogurt/açai bowls, salads, cold pastas or soups, sandwiches and wraps. I’m no cooking princess (Michel can confirm that, haha), but I managed to prep all of these. Just make sure not to keep them in your bag too long (you won’t recognize your pretty açai bowl anymore!) and plan wisely on a warm summer day…
5. Healthy food hotspots
New York is full of super trendy healthy hotspots you definitely don’t want to miss! Some of these places are no longer hidden gems, so you might want to make a reservation just in case. These are my personal favorites:
Psssst, can’t get enough of New York?
Check out my Instagram New York story for more behind-the-scenes videos, our favorite food/drinks spots and more!
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