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Summer fitness on the Buffalo waterfront – and beyond

Move over, Canalside. When it comes to competition for outdoor summer fitness on the Buffalo waterfront, you have company.

The Outer Harbor beckons across the Buffalo River with a new bike park, 3-mile wellness trail and growing number of outdoor group exercise classes along the Lake Erie shoreline.

Further upriver, a new public-private partnership between Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper and Buffalo RiverWorks will begin to open a pastoral 7-mile stretch of waterway and abandoned railbed for a growing number of kayakers, canoers and hikers.

“What a beautiful, beautiful location,” Diane Jones of Niagara Falls said on a recent Tuesday, before a Fitness in the Parks Zumba class at Wilkeson Pointe on the Outer Harbor. “It’s different. You don’t even know you’re exercising, it’s so much fun.”

Her sun-drenched view – a rarity around these parts in recent months – testified to the draw of fitness on the vibrant urban waterscape.

Two dozen people participated with Jones in the Zumba class as roughly the same number of sailboats served as a backdrop beyond the harbor breakwall. Organized kickball games unfolded between the Pointe and Times Beach Nature Preserve.

Click on the image to see a larger version.

Dozens of others strolled or rolled on the Outer Harbor Wellness Trail or tackled the Lakeside Bike Park, a 15-acre patch just north of Buffalo Harbor State Park that boasts a mix of paved and dirt trails.

The river and a stand of trees separates the more tranquil Outer Harbor from Canalside, which during the last decade has evolved into the hub of city recreation and tourism. Weekly bootcamp, Zumba and Graceful Warrior yoga classes took place there on the same recent Tuesday evening, as other visitors watched class participants from the boardwalk, Adirondack chairs and the Clinton’s Dish cafe patio.

“It’s amazing, the fresh air, the scenery, people smiling around you, and the energy,” said Carolyn Montalbo, co-owner of the Graceful Warrior studio in Clarence. “What’s so unique about doing classes here is to be on your mat to connect to yourself and, at the same time, you’re connecting to people from all over Western New York.”

There is comfort in knowing that outdoor fitness classes at Canalside, in the Outer Harbor and at 21 other parks across the region are free.

Those who move outdoors this summer also can bask in a new study that shows taking in two hours’ worth of fresh air each week boosts well-being.

Researchers from England and Sweden studied the habits of 20,000 people of all ages and concluded that those who spend at least two hours a week in nature – at a park, on a trail, or along the water – lower stress and blood pressure, reduce the risk of chronic conditions including diabetes and heart disease, and extend their life expectancy.

“The majority of nature visits in this research took place within just two miles of home, so even visiting local urban green spaces seems to be a good thing,” study leader Mathew White, of the University of Exeter Medical School in England, said in a statement. “Two hours a week is hopefully a realistic target for many people, especially given that it can be spread over an entire week to get the benefit.”

Katie Schriever is among those thrilled with the prospects. The 28-year-old accountant lives in Amherst and works downtown. She runs and work outs up to six days a week. She cut down on the barre, bootcamp and yoga classes that fill much of her winter routine in favor similar classes on the waterfront this summer.

“It’s fantastic,” she said after taking Tuesday night bootcamp and yoga classes at Canalside. “I have friends who wanted to try yoga and barre, but they might be a little apprehensive going to a studio. This is a fun way to try and learn. You can’t beat a free, good workout with a view – and you leave feeling great.”

Katie Schriever, in purple, of Amherst, was among about three dozen people who attended a recent 7 p.m. yoga class at Canalside. (Robert Kirkham/Buffalo News)

Classes and events abound

More than 30 free outdoor fitness classes at Canalside and 22 others across the region that are part of the Fitness in the Parks series top the list of organized activities this summer in Western New York.

The classes are sponsored by the region’s two largest health insurers – BlueCross BlueShield of WNY and Independent Health, respectively – and it’s no accident that many of them take place along the water.

“It’s about giving people the things that they’re looking for to be healthier, creating that culture of health in Western New York, providing access, and meeting people where they are,” said Kathy Glieco, vice president for marketing with Independent Health.

The insurer and the Buffalo Niagara YMCA will host the Fitness in the Parks series through Aug. 24 for the eighth year, including new classes at LaSalle Park, Legends Park in Niagara Falls, and the ADPRO Sports Training Center at New Era Field in Orchard Park. Those with Independent Health insurance also can get discounts on the red Reddy Bikes available to rent around the city, and toward kayak and canoe rentals at Buffalo RiverWorks.

BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York through Sept. 1 again sponsors the Canalside group fitness classes, more than half of which will be new this year, including a CoreFit Athletics Bootcamp at 6 a.m. on Tuesdays. Blue Bikes also will be available for rent at the venue, including at a discounted rate for those it insures.

All of the free classes are taught by certified instructors from some of the top fitness centers and studios in the region. They are open to those of all ages and levels of fitness experience.

New York State Parks, Tifft Nature Preserve and private businesses also have regular and special events – some free, others for a fee.

Below is a calendar of many of the available weather-dependent outdoor fitness events; Canalside classes are denoted with an asterisk (*); Fitness in the Park by a double-asterisk (**).

BIKE, RUN, WALK

Clarence Hollow Farmers’ Market bike ride. 9 a.m. Saturdays through Oct. 12, 10717 Main St., Clarence Hollow. Ten-mile, family-friendly bike ride.

Trek Tifft. 2 to 3:30 p.m. Sundays through August, Tifft Nature Preserve, 1200 Fuhrmann Blvd. For more info and to register, call 825-6397. Free, although a $2 donation per person is appreciated.

GObike Buffalo. Hosts Slow Roll, workshops and special events throughout the summer. See a schedule of events at gobikebuffalo.org.

Slow Roll Buffalo. Riders can start to gather at 5:30 p.m. Monday for a 10-mile guided excursion that starts at 6:30 in several spots. Next week, it starts and ends at the Freedom Wall, East Ferry Street at Michigan Avenue. First-time riders should register at slowrollbuffalo.org. Helmets mandatory.

Running race listings. Weekly Refresh calendars will list many of the region’s 5Ks and other races this summer in the days before they are run. For a complete listing, visit buffalorunners.com.

Checkers Running Club track sessions. 6 p.m. Tuesdays through October, alternating weekly between Williamsville East and South high school tracks. Includes Children’s Track, Zero to 5K program and training by a top University at Buffalo coach. The club also organizes group fun runs and cross-country meets at various locations. Members get discounts on race entry fees and enjoy social gatherings including an annual picnic. For membership and program info, visit checkersac.org.

Blues & Rock N ‘Roll’. Bike 10 miles with Anita West from 97 Rock at 6 p.m. Wednesdays through Aug. 28 at Old Man River, 375 Niagara St., City of Tonawanda, then listen to a live band afterward.

Tifft Nature Preserve boasts five miles of trails for fresh-air fitness. (Sharon Cantillon/News file photo)

Wellness walks. 10 a.m. to noon Thursdays through August, Tifft Nature Preserve, 1200 Fuhrmann Blvd. For more info and to register, call 825-6397. Free, although a $2 donation per person is appreciated.

Reflective First Sunday walks. 10:45 a.m. the first Sunday of every month through November, starting and ending at Hoyt Lake, Delaware Park. Free.

Memories of Camp 40. Learn more about Evangola State Park in Irving when it was a progressive camp for young women, 3 p.m. July 7. Registration required by calling 549-1802. Free.

Stroll Through the Woods. 6:30 p.m. July 7, Whirlpool State Park. Registration required by calling 284-4691. Free.

Goat Island evening walk. 7:30 p.m. Fridays, July 12 through August, Niagara Falls State Park. Registration required by calling 278-1794. Free.

2019 Buffalo Bills 50 Yard Finish. 5K race at 9 a.m., Kid’s Fun Mile at 10:30 a.m. July 13, New Era Field, 1 Bills Drive, Orchard Park. Register at independenthealth.com/events.

Butterfly Beauties. 2 to 5 p.m. July 14, Knox Farm State Park, East Aurora. Registration required by calling 549-1050. Free.

Evening waterfall walk. 7 p.m. July 14, Knox Farm State Park, East Aurora. Registration required by calling 549-1050. Free.

Lake Erie: The Lifeblood of WNY. Walk the Buffalo Harbor promenade with State Parks and Buffalo Waterkeeper staff as they talk about the past, present and future of our region. Registration required by calling 549-1050. Free.

A Dose of Nature: Beach Walk. 6:30 p.m. July 26, Beaver Island Nature Center, Beaver Island State Park. Registration required by calling 282-5154. Free.

Fun Facts with Kelly: Wildflowers. Explore the Lower Niagara Gorge, 10 a.m. July 28, Artpark State Park, Lewiston. Registration required by calling 754-7766. Free.

Sturgeon Moon Beach Walk. 7 p.m. Aug. 14, Fort Niagara State Park, Porter. Registration required by calling 549-1802. Free.

Sunset Saunter. 7 p.m. Aug. 18, Knox Farm State Park, East Aurora. Registration required by calling 652-0786. Free.

A Dose of Nature: Gorge Rim Walk. 6:30 p.m. Aug. 23, Devil’s Hole State Park, Niagara Falls. Registration required by calling 282-5154. Free.

BOOT CAMP

**Boot Camp. 10 a.m. Sundays, 6 p.m. Wednesdays, Legends Park, 1285 11th St., Niagara Falls.

**Boot Camp. 6 p.m. Mondays through Aug. 12, ADPRO Sports Training Center, New Era Field, 1 Bills Drive, Orchard Park.

**Boot Camp. 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, William-Emslie Family YMCA, 585 William St.

**Boot Camp. 6 p.m. Wednesday, Garrison Park, Garrison Road, Amherst.

**Boot Camp. 6 p.m. Wednesdays, Goehle Marina, 767 Market St., Lockport.

**Boot Camp. 6 p.m. Friday, Bassett Park, 359 Klein Road, Amherst.

Lynn Miller, right, of Kenmore and her friend Peggy Parker of Amherst, grabbed the best view of Buffalo Harbor during a recent 6 p.m. Tuesday night Zumba class at Wilkeson Pointe on the Outer Harbor. (Robert Kirkham/Buffalo News)

DANCE AND ZUMBA

*Zumba. 10 a.m. Sundays through Aug. 18, Canalside.

**Barre. 10 a.m. Mondays, Goehle Marina, 767 Market St., Lockport.

**Zumba. 6 p.m. Monday, Bassett Park, 359 Klein Road, Amherst.

Salsa in the Park. Sarah Haykel, director of Salsa for the Soul, and Jerome Williams lead this class from 7 to 9 p.m. Mondays through July 30, Rose Garden at Marcy Casino, Delaware Park. $5 includes lesson and dance social. Beginners and singles welcomed and encouraged. For more info, visit sarahhaykel.com/dance.

Zumba at the Beach. 10 a.m. Tuesdays and Fridays through September, Sunset Bay Beach Club patio, 1028 South Shore Drive, Hanover. If it’s chilly or raining, class will be held inside the Beach Club. $5 per class, five classes for $20. For more info, visit sunsetbayusa.com.

*SilverSneakers Dance. 10:15 a.m. Tuesdays, Canalside.

**Zumba. 6 p.m. Tuesdays, Wilkeson Pointe, 225 Fuhrmann Blvd., Outer Harbor.

*Zumba. 6 p.m. Tuesdays, Canalside. No classes Aug. 6 and 27.

**Zumba. 6 p.m. Tuesdays, Day Road Park, 5014-5098 Day Road, Lockport.

**Zumba. 6:30 p.m. Wednesdays, Westwood Park, 175 Pavement Road, Lancaster.

**Zumba. 10 a.m. Thursdays, Cheektowaga Town Park, 2600 Harlem Road.

**Zumba. 5:30 p.m. Thursday, 31 Hughes St., Jamestown.

**Zumba. 7 p.m. Thursdays, Krull Park, East Lake Road, Olcott.

*Everyone Can Dance. 10 a.m. Fridays, Canalside. No classes July 19 and Aug. 2.

**Zumba. 5:30 p.m. Fridays, Allen Park Bandshell, 31 Hughes St., Jamestown.

*Silent Disco with La’Movement Fitness. 6 p.m. July 19, Aug. 9, Canalside.

**Zumba. 6 p.m. Tuesday only, Chestnut Ridge Park, 6121 Chestnut Ridge Road, Orchard Park.

Barre Centric. 8:30 a.m. Aug. 10, 24, Wilkeson Pointe, 225 Fuhrmann Blvd., Outer Harbor.

KID’S FITNESS

*Kids Get Moving – Creative Movements. 6 p.m. Mondays, Fridays, Canalside. No classes July 12 and Aug. 2 and 30.

*Kid’s Generation POUND. 7 p.m. Mondays, Fridays, Canalside. No classes July 12 and Aug. 2 and 30.

*Josh and Friends. 10 a.m. Wednesday, Canalside.

*Studio J’s Kids Dance. 11 a.m. Thursdays, Canalside.

Lizzie’s Little Yogis. 10 a.m. July 13, Aug. 10 and 24, Wilkeson Pointe, 225 Fuhrmann Blvd., Outer Harbor.

*Kids Zumbini with Jody. 11 a.m. July 14, Aug. 11, Canalside.

Kayakers glide along the Buffalo River in a stretch called Concrete City. (Harry Scull Jr./News file photo)

PADDLING

Beginner kayaking with Tina and Kelly. Beginners classes at 11 a.m., 1 and 3 p.m. July 6 and Aug. 3; more than beginners classes Thursdays July 11 to Sept. 5, Beaver Island State Park, Grand Island. A kayak, paddle and life jacket will be provided. Space is limited, so sign up early. Call 282-5154 to register.

Kayaking with Matt. Beginners class 2 and 6 p.m. July 24, 9 and 11 a.m. July 28, Knox Farm State Park, East Aurora. Free. A kayak, paddle and life jacket will be provided. Space is limited, so sign up early. Call 549-1050 to register.

Paddles Up Niagara. 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. July 27, Beaver Island State Park, Grand Island. For more info, visit bnwaterkeeper.org.

Buffalo’s newest urban adventure: A quiet paddle up the Buffalo River

Wear It on the Water Paddle Fest. 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Aug. 10, Wilson Tuscarora State Park. Free Start Smart kayaking classes, demonstrations and boating safety info. Registration required by calling 282-5154.

Kayak tours. Hosted across the region at various days, times and locations by Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper. Some kayaks and personal floatation devices available to rent. Fees apply. For more info and to register, visit bnwaterkeeper.org.

Kayak rentals and tours. Of the Buffalo River. For info and to register, visit buffalopaddleworks.com.

Kayak safety courses. Throughout the summer at various rates through Seabirds International. For more info, visit seabirds.co or email seabird.ava@gmail.com.

Amanda Muldoon, an instructor with Graceful Warrior Yoga in Clarence, leads a recent Tuesday evening class at at Canalside. (Robert Kirkham/Buffalo News)

PILATES, TAI CHI, YOGA

**PiYo. 10 a.m. Saturdays, Elmwood Avenue at Bidwell Parkway.

Yoga on the Green. 9 a.m. Sundays through Oct. 13, Kenmore Village Green, Delaware Avenue at Delaware Road.

*Core Velocity Yoga. 9 a.m. Sundays, Canalside.

**Yoga. 10 a.m. Sundays, Delaware Park near the Rose Garden.

**Yoga. 1 p.m. Sundays, William-Emslie Family YMCA, 585 William St.

**Pilates. 11 a.m. Mondays, Lakewood Beach, Hartley Park, 531 E. Terrace Ave., Lakewood.

*Chair and mat yoga. Noon Mondays, Canalside. No classes July 29 and Aug. 5.

**Express Yoga Stretch. 5:15 p.m. Mondays, Allen Park, 31 Hughes St., Jamestown.

*Rise Fitness. Hatha yoga, 5:30 p.m. Mondays, Canalside.

**Yoga. 6:30 p.m. Mondays, Westwood Park, 175 Pavement Road, Lancaster.

**Sunset Yoga. 7:45 p.m. Mondays, Day Road Park, 5014-5098 Day Road, Lockport.

**Yoga. 10 a.m. Tuesday, Cheektowaga Town Park, 2600 Harlem Road.

**Pilates. 6 p.m. Tuesdays, Losson Park, 810 Losson Road, Cheektowaga.

**Yoga. 6 p.m. Tuesdays, Chestnut Ridge Park, 6121 Chestnut Ridge Road, Orchard Park.

**PiYo. 7 p.m. Tuesdays, Day Road Park, 5014-5098 Day Road, Lockport.

**Yoga. 7 p.m. Tuesdays, Losson Park, 810 Losson Road, Cheektowaga.

*Graceful Warrior Yoga. 7 p.m. Tuesdays, Canalside. No classes Aug. 6 and 28.

Yoga at Letchworth State Park. 8 a.m. Wednesdays in July and August, events tent outside the Glen Iris Inn, 7  Letchworth State Park, Castile. Letchworth Yoga Collective will host these mixed-level Hatha yoga classes. $12 or pay what you can. For more info, visit the collective’s Facebook page.

Yoga at the Beach. 10 a.m. Wednesdays through September, Sunset Bay Beach Club patio, 1028 South Shore Drive, Hanover. If it’s chilly or raining, class will be held inside the Beach Club. $5 per class, five classes for $20. For more info, visit sunsetbayusa.com.

**Tai chi. 11 a.m. Wednesdays, Lakewood Beach, Hartley Park, 531 E. Terrace Ave., Lakewood.

*Impact Hip Hop Yoga. 5:30 p.m. Wednesdays, Canalside.

Love in Motion Yoga. 6:30 p.m. Wednesdays, Wilkeson Pointe, 225 Fuhrmann Blvd., Outer Harbor.

*SilverSneakers Chair Yoga. 10 a.m. Thursdays, Canalside.

Pilates at the Beach. 10 a.m. Thursdays through September, Sunset Bay Beach Club patio, 1028 South Shore Drive, Hanover. If it’s chilly or raining, class will be held inside the Beach Club. $5 per class, five classes for $20. For more info, visit sunsetbayusa.com.

** Parent/Child Yoga. 10:15 a.m. Thursdays, Losson Park, 810 Losson Road, Cheektowaga.

**Yoga. 5:30 p.m. Thursdays, LaSalle Park, DAR Drive.

**Yoga. 5:30 Thursdays, Wilkeson Pointe, 225 Fuhrmann Blvd., Outer Harbor.

**Yoga. 6 p.m. Thursdays, Ellicott Creek Park, 1 Ellicott Creek Drive, Town of Tonawanda.

**Sunset Yoga. 8 p.m. Thursdays, Krull Park, East Lake Road, Olcott.

**Yoga. 9:30 a.m. Fridays, Main Street Park, 10405 Main St., Clarence.

*Soma Cura Yoga. 6 p.m. Fridays, Canalside. No classes July 12 and Aug. 2 or 30.

Rise Fitness. 9 a.m. July 20, Aug. 17, Wilkeson Pointe, 225 Fuhrmann Blvd., Outer Harbor.

*Power Yoga. 9 .m. July 27, Aug. 24, Canalside.

Budding Tree Yoga Summer Retreat. 10:30 to 4:30 p.m. Aug. 11, Chestnut Ridge Lodge meeting room. $65. For more info and to register, visit buddingtreeyoga.com/schedule.

OTHER CLASSES AND EVENTS

Summer City Fitness. LaLa from La’Movement will lead a dance fitness class at 10 a.m. Saturdays from next Saturday to Aug. 31 at the foot of the Martin Luther King Jr. statue in MLK Park, Fillmore Avenue at Best Street. Free fresh fruit and water provided. For more info, visit facebook.com/LaMovement. Sponsored by BlueCross BlueShield of WNY. Free.

*SowFit POUND Fitness. 10 a.m. Saturdays, Canalside.

*BikeOrBar HIIT. 10 a.m. Sundays, Canalside.

*BoxStar Training. 11 a.m. Sundays, Canalside.

**Cardio Blast. 5:30 p.m. Mondays, Thursdays, Larkin Square, 745 Seneca St.

*Jada Blitz Fitness. 6 p.m. Mondays, Canalside.

*Himalayan Institute Meditation. 7 p.m. Mondays, Canalside.

*Barre Centric. 7 p.m. Mondays, Canalside.

*Core Fit Athletics. 6 a.m. Tuesdays, Canalside.

**Bodyweight Strength Training. 9 a.m. Tuesdays, Lakewood Beach, Hartley Park, 531 E. Terrace Ave., Lakewood.

*Kickboxing. 4:30 p.m. Tuesdays, Allen Park, 31 Hughes St., Jamestown. No class Aug. 6.

*Shannon Connors Fitness. 5:30 p.m. Tuesdays, 9 a.m. July 6 and Aug. 3, Canalside. No classes Aug. 6 or 27.

November project. Local chapter of national group devoted to a morning workout meets at 6 a.m. Wednesdays year-round, back steps at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Lincoln Parkway at Iroquois Drive, for a mix of cardio and strength exercise. Free.

**Fusion. 5:30 p.m. Wednesdays, Buffalo RiverWorks, 359 Ganson St.

*Garage Fitness HIIT and Kick. 6 p.m. Wednesdays, Canalside.

*La’Movement Fitness. 6 p.m. Wednesdays, Canalside.

POUND at the Beach. 6:30 p.m. Wednesdays through September, Sunset Bay Beach Club patio, 1028 South Shore Drive, Hanover. If it’s chilly or raining, class will be held inside the Beach Club. $5 per class, five classes for $20. For more info, visit sunsetbayusa.com.

*LA Fitness Cardio. 7 p.m. Wednesdays, Canalside.

Fit Like a Gladiator. 9 a.m. Saturdays, July 13, Aug. 10, Wilkeson Pointe, 225 Fuhrmann Blvd., Outer Harbor.

Buffalo Paddle-Bike Run. Triathlon to benefit Buffalo Wellness, 7 a.m. July 28, Silo City. For more info, visit bflopaddlebikerun.com.

*Get Livin. 9 a.m. July 20, Aug. 17, Canalside.

Rev Fit. 8 a.m. Aug. 3, Wilkeson Pointe, 225 Fuhrmann Blvd., Outer Harbor.

Garage Fitness. 10 a.m. Aug. 31, Wilkeson Pointe, 225 Fuhrmann Blvd., Outer Harbor.

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