Exercising outdoors during a Louisiana summer may sound like pure masochism, but plenty of people do it. (Probably the same people who sign up for Bikram yoga classes.) Many parks host affordable or free outdoor exercise classes. Yes, it's really hot outside, but the scenery can't be beat — plus, working up a sweat is kind of the point. Here are a few classes to try this season.
(1008 N. Peters St., 504-522- 2621; www.frenchmarket.org/ crescentpark)
Crescent Park hosts Yoga Social Club from 5:45 p.m. to 6:45 p.m. Thursdays through June. The free class is sponsored by lululemon athletica and concludes with happy hour at 13 Monaghan. Attendees should bring mats and water.
(325 Metairie-Hammond Highway, Metairie)
Bucktown Marina is the kickoff point for a free 5K glowstick run along the levee, which starts at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, June 23. Move Ya Brass, a fitness company by local singer Robin Barnes, organizes the event.
(1 Palm Drive, 504-488-2896; www.neworleanscitypark.com)vMembers of Louisiana Running Company's fitness group meet at 6:30 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays at Louisiana Running Company (4153 Canal St., 504-304-4762; www.louisianarunning.com) for a 3- or 5-mile course through City Park and Mid-City. Walkers and joggers also participate.
City Park's Peristyle hosts free Zumba classes at 8 a.m. Saturdays through Sept. 25. The classes are sponsored by Elmwood Fitness Center and Ochsner Medical Center. For more information, call (504) 733-1600.
Salire Fitness (4209 Magazine St., 504-821-4896; www.salirefitness.com) holds boot camp classes mornings and evenings five days a week at City Park. The price is $12 per class or $99 for a month of unlimited classes. "The classes are high-intensity interval training," says owner and personal trainer Nolan Ferraro. "We use body weights, light dumbbells, plyometrics, calisthenics, jogging and some Pilates. It's nice to be outdoors, even if it gets hot sometimes."
The Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden
(New Orleans City Park, 1 Collins C. Diboll Circle, 504-658-4100; www.noma.org)
The sculpture garden at New Orleans Museum of Art hosts yoga and Pilates classes taught by East Jefferson Wellness Center instructor Terry Rappold at 8 a.m. Saturday mornings. Classes are $5, free for museum members. To register, call 504-456-5000.
(1 Canal St., 504-565-3033; www.audubonnatureinstitute.org/golf-parks/woldenberg-park)<
The gazebo at Woldenberg Park hosts The Sweat Social (504-510-1973; www.thesweatsocial.com), which presents 30-minute workouts geared toward people of all fitness levels. Classes take place daily and include yoga, kickboxing, Pilates and high-intensity interval training. They cost $20. "We cater to travelers coming through town, but love having locals," says Rupa Mohan, co-founder and CEO of The Sweat Social. "We have a great local following, and all our classes end with giveaways and gifts. You're in and out, and the workouts are really effective."
Sojourner Truth Neighborhood Center Field (2200 Lafitte St., 504-702-6778) hosts free Zumba classes at 6 p.m. the second Tuesday of every month through September. Classes take place on the Lafitte Greenway between the playground and tennis courts.