06/23/2011 11:17 am ET Updated Aug 23, 2011

Outdoor Workouts In New York: Exercise Outside

If your eyes glaze over at the mention of “gym membership,” think outside -- the box.

Back To The Basics
If you see men running, jumping, and climbing trees in nearby parks, they’re probably onto the Paleo Diet craze, which promotes caveman-style eating and exercise. Old School Fitness jumps on the bandwagon with intense cardio, endurance, and strengthening workouts that keep you nimble, agile and ready for whatever wildebeests stand in the way.

Row Your Boat
Kayakers looking for an edgier route than the Hudson River can join the Gowanus Dredgers Canoe Club, a volunteer organization that advocates waterfront activities and canal clean-up. You can burn up to 340 calories an hour paddling the Superfund site while passing by herons, killifish, and artists painting on the neighborhood’s bridges.

Dumpster Diving
There are pools, and then there are pools. Floating Pool Lady is a pristine, seven-lane pool on a barge has docked up at Barretto Point Park in the Bronx. Mornings tend to be low-key, so you can plan on doing a few laps while taking in the waterfront. Likewise, the Art Deco Astoria Park Pool has incredible scenic views, and good stroke karma from its history as the pool for Olympic swimming trials in 1936. The city will install Dumpster Pools (which are exactly what they sound like) in the middle of Park Avenue for the first three weeks of August.

Put The Pedal To The Metal
As an outdoorsy homage to fitness and wellness, one of SoulCycle’s most beloved cycling teachers leads a Saturday morning (8:30 a.m.) class through the Union Square Greenmarket. Ride, meet vendors, share recipes, and bask in the bounty local farmers bring to their stands. It’s complimentary through July.

Barefoot And Fancy Free
Kick off your shoes and join the Barefoot Brooklyn Meetup Group for a few laps around Prospect Park. Weekend joggers sport those weird shod foot-shoes at first -- as it takes about three months to build up the muscle strength to transition to bare feet. It’s all about avoiding the heel strike: barefoot runners tend miss out on Achilles tendinitis and shin splints -- ailments that keep a lot of the sneakered race from hitting the pavement.