Maintaining your physical and mental health can be challenging, especially living in a city like New York during the pandemic. Young adults who live in Manhattan are often operating on a budget, and spending extra cash on gym memberships and yoga classes isn’t always advisable. Running is an effective and free mode of exercise, and with some of the most coveted routes in the world, Manhattan and Brooklyn have your back!
Habitual Exercise Is Key
The more accessible a sport or exercise is, the more likely you will engage regularly. According to the DHHS (Department of Health and Human Services), you should be striving two and a half to five hours of moderate-intense exercise every week. Meeting this goal can promote cardiovascular health, prevent cancer, while simultaneously bringing brain health to the next level.
The mental benefits of regular running are the primary reason why running is becoming increasingly more popular. John Hopkins Medicine says the runners’ high associated with long-distance jogs is due to the release of endocannabinoids produced naturally, which can induce a feeling of calm and reduced anxiety following a run.
Through continuous engagement, a runner can trigger blood vessel growth in the brain, and neurogenesis, the production of new brain cells, all of which can prevent mental decline. Regular cardio can additionally benefit the hippocampus, heightening memory, focus, task switching, and mood; ideal benefits for the busy NY lifestyle.
An excellent way to stay motivated is to start with a short distance slowly and work your way up. With apps like Strava that provide a social platform built for runners, you can further motivate yourself by joining groups and setting goals.
Your roommates can also be your perfect activity buddies! No cheating possible with them, they will keep you focused and motivated. It’s always easier to find your energy as a team.
Mindful running is a vague term that means a lot of things to a lot of different people, but it really comes down to being present, says Chevy Rough, a mindfulness and performance coach on the ASICS Sound Mind Sound Body team. “It’s purely about being mentally connected within your movement and not being distracted,” he says. “Distraction can come in the form of other people, noise, technology, but it can also come in the form of cultural pressures. You know: ‘How fast do I have to go?’ ‘How far am I supposed to go?’ ‘What is the definition of a runner?’”
Staying present in an activity that seems designed to help you zone out is way easier said than done. But there are ways you can physiologically prep your body for zen, and tricks you can try on the run to stay dialed in. To run mindfully, then, you have to shrug off those external distractions and pressures and really listen to your body: What does your breath tell you about your body? How fast do you feel like going?
A World-Class Reputation
New York is home to some of the most anticipated races and marathons in the world, including the NYC Marathon and the Ted Corbitt 15K, and for a good reason. The renowned architecture and stunning views transport you out of your head and into the vibrating city life while also giving you your daily exercise dose.
Check out five of the most favorite Manhattan and Brooklyn Routes below:
Central Park Reservoir Route
Escape the concrete and metal and head into the woods by running in Central Park. To avoid cyclists and extensive hills, running around the JKO Reservoir can be beautiful and practical.
The High Line
Great for beginners due to its 1.45-mile length, the High Line is an Instagram runner’s dream. The best way to avoid tourists and pedestrians is by going early in the morning.
This iconic and coveted Brooklyn park is perfect for park runners who want less distance than Central Park, with the perimeter route amounting to 3.6 miles, but still want to get in their hills.
Brooklyn & Manhattan Bridges
Great for more experienced runners, starting in Brooklyn and heading over the Manhattan Bridge, through Manhattan to the Brooklyn Bridge is best done early in the morning as it gives you stunning sunrise views and various NYC landmarks.
Brooklyn Bridge Park
Running around this park provides a great vantage point of the Brooklyn Bridge and is great for beginner runners who are still building up their speed as it is only two miles around the park and piers.