You could do your usual core class at the Y, or you could plank along the Schuylkill River Trail. Namaste at the studio as usual, or downward dog in an art gallery. Put in your miles on Forbidden Drive, or run to a new bar in Fishtown.
Fitness classes are ditching their sweaty studios to offer free workouts in the real world, giving enthusiasts the chance to discover new places around town while adding sought-after variety in their routines. For those who aren't members of a gym, these events may feel less intimidating with fewer barriers to entry and the ability to hang with like-minded cohorts. And, above all, it makes people look good on Instagram.
"They are looking for meaningful ways to engage with their communities - and then post to social media," said Tom Wingert, marketing director for City Fitness' four clubs throughout Philadelphia. "To discover new places while also doing something good for yourself is a total home run."
City Fitness entered the fray in March, adding a half-dozen free community events, from a boot camp hosted by celebrity trainer Fabiana Ferrarini in Palmer Park (called Bagel Booty because there were free bagels) to a three-mile run through Fishtown, highlighting some of the neighborhood's more famous murals, and ending at Graffiti Pier. More than 100 people came out for each event, prompting the company to plan even more activities for the coming year.
What's good for the individual is also good for the gym - these events are largely promoted free on social media, but it can also work to raise money or awareness for a cause.
The city, as part of Mayor Kenny's Rebuild initiative to improve the city's parks, recreation centers, and libraries - and encourage healthy exercise - has taken to supporting these kinds of events, too.
Though not staffed to develop their own experiences on the Schuylkill River Trail or in the city's open spaces, Philadelphia Parks and Recreation and the Schuylkill River Development Corp. want to encourage other groups to use the areas.
"Our message is simple," said Parks and Recreation commissioner Kathryn Ott Lovell. "You don't need to pay for an expensive gym membership to get healthy."
Here are a few to try:
Yoga in the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The museum, in partnership with Center City's Dhyana Yoga, offers the popular classes on a first-come, first-served basis. Rotating among assorted galleries and the Great Stair Hall balcony, 25 to 50 participants can get their Zen on among priceless works of art.
"We're looking on Wednesday nights to offer a different viewpoint of our collection," said Claire Oosterhoudt, manager of evening programs. Sometimes, that's upside down. "Yoga in that space is special, an opportunity to be mindful and to look at the works of art in a different way."
6 and 7 p.m. Wednesdays, Philadelphia Museum of Art, 215-763-8100, www.philamuseum.org/wednesdaynights. Museum admission is pay-what-you-wish. Bring a yoga mat, towel, and closable water bottle.
November Project. For the free national fitness movement that began in Boston as a way to stay in shape during cold months, 75 to 150 participants brave rain, heat, and polar vortex for a twice-weekly workout. "We use our city as our playground. It's about being a community," said Beth Blendell, Philadelphia's co-leader. "We do some combination of running and body-weight exercises and have fun with it. We're really into hugging, which is a great way to feel connected and part of the group."
6:25 a.m. Wednesdays on the Philadelphia Art Museum steps, and 6:25 a.m. Fridays at Lemon Hill, across from Boathouse Row, November-project.com. Wear running shoes and bring a water bottle.
Fishtown Beer Runners. Whether you're a novice or a marathoner, join 75 to 100 neighbors on a 3- to 5-mile run that ends at a local bar. "Everybody runs at their own pace. it's a very inclusive group, not just about beer or running, but about community," said David April, its founder. "We never miss - whether it's a blizzard, hot, or raining, we always run. Just bring your sense of humor and willingness to engage people you don't know."
7 p.m. Thursdays at 2346 E. Susquehanna Ave., Fishtown; and Seventh and Bainbridge, Queen Village. 267-476-1005, fishtownbeerrunners.com. Running is free; drinks are on you. Bring a water bottle.
Strava + Lululemon Run Challenge. Partnering with Strava, a social network for athletes, Lululemon expects to attract even more than the 1,000 participants who ran in October in its Ghost Race. Runners register on the Strava app to track runs, with the goal of doing 25 or 50 miles over two weeks.
"Whether running on a treadmill or enjoying the fresh air outside, [this] encourages participants to stay accountable and keep motivated in the generally cold month of January," said Sara Webster Wylie, Lululemon area community strategist.
Jan. 9-22, Lululemon Walnut Street, 215-563-4806, www.facebook.com/pg/lululemonPhiladelphia/event.
Yoga on the Banks. If you prefer to stretch amid nature, join the 100 yoga practitioners on the Schuylkill Banks from April to October. Until then, the donation-based class lives indoors at the Philly Yoga Factory.
"It's an accessible yoga class for all levels," said co-director Erin Gautsche. "Since we're outside, instead of music, you hear all the sounds of the city, can feel the sun and breeze, and it's fun to actually look up at the sky." Dogs and kids are welcome.