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Cross Country Skiing in New York’s Central Park

When the mounts of snow become a permanent fixture in the city grid, you know you have very good chances to enjoy an adventurous day in the heart of Central Park. Call two or three of your friends, rent the appropriate number of skis and poles and make plans to meet in Central Park.


Cross-country skiing is challenging but it is very rewarding both as a cardiovascular exercise and as a “bonding with friends” experience.


There are a few things to keep in mind for everyone’s safety and fun:


1. Start small. Find a nice stretch in the park that is relatively open and not populated with too many people.

2. Keep it interesting. Create a challenge for you and your friends and set a destination point to which you should arrive within a certain amount of time.

3. Make it adventurous. Don’t follow the easiest path but rather the most challenging, one that will have you work hard and think hard (how can I circumvent that huge rock without getting hurt?)

4. Venture out. Considering that you choose a relatively easy first stretch, move on to a new location. You have warmed up already and you have good command of your skis and poles. Set another challenge for you and your friends.

5. When you finish visit the local recreation stand. Is there hot chocolate? That’s all you need along with a pat on the back for having organized a fabulous treat for your group. Enjoy the chocolate while you organize your next outdoors fitness venture: if the snow is still around next weekend, you may want to repeat. If the weather has improved considerably, we will propose a different outdoors activity that is fun and rewarding.


(Post by Thomai Serdari)


Group Fitness

The hardest thing to maintain when on a new fitness program is the motivation to make it to the gym and complete your work out.  It's not fun to work out alone and even relying on your favorite music is not enough.


The best way to work around that problem is to try a group fitness class. This of course requires a gym membership. Most gyms understand the value of group fitness for their clients. You will find a variety of classes and teaching methods in New York City’s fitness centers.


Group fitness is appealing because:

  1. Someone else is in command.  You, the gym go-er, don’t need to do any thinking at all. You just need to show up on time at the designated location at your gym. The instructor will have designed an effective program for you. You just need to follow instructions but there is no need to think about the sequence in which the exercises take place.
  2. The time and location are set months in advance. This does not leave you space for excuses of any kind. You cannot forget, you cannot get confused, and you cannot postpone it either.
  3. It is fun to work out with other people both to be inspired by those who are doing the exercises correctly and to feel good about yourself when compared to those who do not do that great…. such is human nature and we cannot deny it.
  4. Regardless of which gym you attend, you most probably share instructors with other gyms in the area. This way you know you are not missing out in terms of technique and innovation because one instructor teaches at several gyms during the week. You lower fee membership probably reflects the quality of your gym’s facilities but not this of the instructor hired to teach the class.
  5. Most classes, no matter what their name is, are a combination of aerobic and anaerobic exercise. Therefore, they help you elevate your heartbeat while you are also working on your major muscle groups.


These are five good reasons to belong to a gym and to find motivation and good instruction in one of the many free group fitness classes offered there.


(Post by Thomai Serdari)




Physical Exercise as a Tool for Building Confidence and Enhancing Health in Teens: How it all started

Have you ever given any thought to what pulls you through when you are stressed out or when you are facing difficulties in life? It’s your inner strength undoubtedly and your ability to focus. But where do you get these? How do you achieve them? For some people it’s a chat with a friend and loved one that clears the picture, for others meditation, introspection, or a walk in the park.

Meditation, walk, chat: what do they have in common? Most would point to the fact that they allow us to reconnect mentally, emotionally, and spiritually with our values, needs, and desires. But if examined carefully, all three have one trait in common. They begin with us, with our body, and our physical being. It is our breathing primarily that allows us to stop and have a chat. It is the power of our legs that carries us through our neighborhood or nature and allows us to focus on our own pace. It is our physical connection to our own being that allows meditation to takes place.

We tend to forget the most fundamental idea of all: our health and well being starts with our body. Its physicality is what carries us through life and its physical state affects how we feel. At best, we feel healthy, powerful, confident and ready to conquer the world. At worst, we feel powerless, sluggish, tired and insecure.

I had not given it much thought either. Even though I have made a conscious decision to never take anything for granted in life, I tend to forget and I do take things for granted. Except, one day last April, I realized that the one constant thing in my life (the one that pulled me through double duty of full-time school and full-time work, through multiple jobs at one time, through disappointments, aches, and ailments) is daily exercise at the gym.

Was I not lucky? There I was, on the treadmill, pushing a 15% incline and hiking away, completely focused on regulating my breathing to make it to what I had set as my finish line. And then I realized that what has kept me coming back to the gym on an almost daily schedule is not so much the fact that I can control a healthy weight (which in itself is a great gift) but that exercise at such level of intensity and dedication does wonders for my whole being. The high degree of concentration and the intensity of physical exertion flush away all thoughts, worries, and stress factors while also forcing me to listen to my body and focus on how it feels. When that connection takes place, when I can focus exclusively on how my body feels, the physical activity empowers mental and emotional release that generates a whole new flow of ideas. In fact, this is the process I have used repeatedly to solve problems and move forward.

I can to do this because I am privileged to be able to afford a gym membership and allow myself to work out throughout the year in New York City, a place known for its harsh winters.  I can do it because I am old enough to be allowed in a gym. My life has enough stability to allow me to recognize the benefits of exercise.

This is the exception, however, and not the rule. According to New York Government statistics over half of the adults in New York State and one in every four teenagers are overweight or obese. This represents a huge number of teenagers, most of whom from underprivileged backgrounds whose families do not have the means to send them to the gym for any form of physical exercise.

One in every four teenagers in New York State are overweight or obese. One in every four teenagers in New York State do not have access to exercising facilities. One if every four teenagers in New York State do not know the benefits of working out, benefits that extend beyond a healthy body. These teenagers do not know how to focus, how to listen to their bodies, how to stop consuming and start creating their best self. They do not know how to achieve goals or confidence.

I decided it was time to act and do something to help teenagers become healthy and gain confidence in life. Since last April, my efforts materialized in the formation of a nonprofit, incorporated in the state of New York, and dedicated to soliciting funds and collaborating with gyms in the region in order to provide gym subsidies to teenagers of underprivileged backgrounds. “Gym Memberships for Teens Inc.” promises to attack the problem of excessive weight and obesity among teens and to help them learn, through regular exercise, how to set and achieve goals in life.

Welcome to Work Out – Work Up Inc.








Work Out – Work Up Inc. is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to building confidence in teens by subsidizing their gym memberships.


Our goal is to help teens who cannot afford a gym membership receive a gym subsidy.

We aim at using regular exercise to teach young people about setting goals, focusing, and succeeding in life.

We aim at seeing them healthy, improving their grades in school, graduating from high school, and getting into college.



Our vision is to turn young people’s lives around through regular physical exercise.