New Yorkers, in general, are an active, fit population. Despite the abundance of hot dogs and cocktail bars, most city residents walk more than the average joe and at a fast pace. Top tip: don't get in their way and don't dawdle through Times Square. Climbing up and down the stairs at subway stops will give visitors plenty of exercise, but if you want to stay fit and see the sights at the same time, here's how to do it.
The High Line is an elevated park which runs from Gansevoort Street to 34th Street. This 2.33-kilometre stretch of abandoned rail tracks has been repurposed as one of the city's most popular green spaces. With views out to the Hudson River, it's the perfect spot to enjoy a sunset. Alternately, on a sunny day there's no better place to walk than across the Brooklyn Bridge.
Run with locals at favourite Manhattan jogging tracks along the West Side Highway or East River Promenade. Central Park attracts thousands of runners and walkers every day, with the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir's 2.5-kilometre jogging track a popular spot in all seasons. In Brooklyn, find your runner's high in Prospect Park or along the waterfront at Brooklyn Bridge Park.
Cycle the pathways of Central Park and discover its many nooks and crannies. The park holds a week's worth of amusements, including a zoo, an Olympic-size swimming pool, ice-skating in the winter and a historic carousel. Bikes may be hired from Bike and Roll at the Columbus Circle/59th Street entrance to the park. Bike and Roll also has a downtown location in Battery Park, and several other locations open during the warmer months.
The Citibike public bicycle sharing program is the largest of its kind in the US, with docking stations in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens. 24-hour and 7-day access passes are available. Cycling around the city streets is common, though beware the traffic and please consider a helmet (it isn't required by law, but let sanity prevail).
Kayak the waters surrounding Manhattan and Brooklyn with free kayak rental available from May-October. Show up to Pier 26 (downtown in the Hudson River Park), sign a waiver and you're away. Free rentals are for 20 minutes and include a brief safety lesson.
Stretch out the hectic city stress at Yoga To The People. With several modern studios around the city – and some of the best instructors in the country – this donation-based yoga movement welcomes drop-in visitors. You don't need to be a super-bendy yogi to enjoy the classes, which range from Power Vinyasa to Hot Yoga and more. Participants of all experience and fitness level are made to feel at home. Look for the Sunday night candlelit sessions: heavenly after a long, busy day sightseeing.