Videos

The Park Bench Stretch

Turning this public park staple into a personal gym.

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FortTryonParkTrust/YouTube

Turns out you don't need a gym membership or Tae Bo videos or even the outdoor exercise equipment many parks feature in order to stay fit. All you need to stay healthy, according to personal trainer Nancy Bruning, is a standard park bench.

Bruning has created a series of exercises and stretches people can perform easily with only a park bench. She's compile 101 different bench-based exercises, which her website calls a "practical fitness system and philosophy that takes you outdoors and restores a feeling of play and naturalness to your workouts."

Essentially, Bruning's taken "Sit and Be Fit" off public television and placed it into the public park.

She's dubbed her system "Nancercize," and it's basically a mix of stretching, yoga poses and a few dance-like moves that use the bench as a balancing or leverage point. Exercises include a deep squat stretch, a reclined bicycle pedaling motion, and even a karate-like "sky kick." Not your typical park bench activities and kinda dorky, but probably pretty good for you.

This introductory video shows a few of the moves you can do.

[A full 14:00 video featuring all 101 exercises is also available.]

Bruning argues that physical fitness doesn't have to be complicated or expensive. She's hoping people will start to reconsider the park bench and the free space of public parks as opportunities for better health. "The outdoor world," her site claims, "is our natural health club."

Image credit: /YouTube

About the Author

  • Nate Berg is a freelance reporter and a former staff writer for CityLab. He lives in Los Angeles.