5 Urban Alternatives to the Gym


Boot Camp

Boot camp is a fun way to get some exercise in the city -- and meet people.
Boot camp is a fun way to get some exercise in the city -- and meet people.
Mike Powell/Digital Vision/Thinkstock

Everyone is familiar with the stereotype of military boot camp: Day after day, a burly sergeant with a wide brim hat puts new recruits through a series of difficult challenges, yelling at them constantly until they become stronger and more disciplined. Fitness boot camps are similar in that they are mentally and physically challenging, but they usually only last 60 minutes and there's considerably less yelling.

While some boot camps meet in gyms, many take place outdoors, right in downtown plazas and parks. They typically last about four to six weeks and meet three days a week for about an hour. Each day, a trained fitness coach directs a different exercise program that includes some combination of stretching, running, stair climbing, calisthenics, plyometrics, abdominal training and much more. And unlike a gym workout, you don't need a lot of fancy equipment -- just some sports clothes, training shoes and water.

One of the things that people like most about the fitness boot camps is that, like a military boot camp, you don't have to endure the challenge alone. The camaraderie of the experience makes the exercise seem more bearable, and in some cases, fun. Who knows, you might even come out of your fitness boot camp with a new friend as well as a toned body!