Outdoor Programs to Help Elder Neighbors Stay Active this Spring and Summer

These Uptown community organizations help our beloved elders take full advantage of the spring and summer months. 

Janrey Serapio
April 04, 2024

Spring is in full swing and it’s important for everyone, particularly seniors, to seize the sunnier days and stay active by enjoying the outdoors. 

The Center for Disease Control recommends adults aged 65 and older engage in at least 150 minutes (or 30 minutes a day, five days a week) of moderate-intensity activity. This helps seniors prevent or delay age-related health issues, while spending time in nature can provide cognitive benefits. 

This spring, there are a few community groups based Uptown that can help seniors stay active and outdoors in the coming months.

Lifeforce in Later Years 

Group of older adults in a walking group.

DOROT, which is Hebrew for “generations,” is a CCS grantee that helps to address the challenges of an aging population and fosters intergenerational connections. 

Led by experienced New York Road Runners coaches, DOROT facilitates a weekly walking group fitness program for seniors located in Central Park. Other activities include local outings to movies, coffee shops, and museums. Virtual webinars are also available for stretching, chair yoga, tai chi, meditation, qigong, and more. Learn more at their website or call (212) 769-2850.

New York Public Library

Did you know that some local New York Public Library (NYPL) branches also host free fitness classes? Morningside Heights Library, Harlem Library, Hamilton Grange Library, and Harry Belafonte 115th Street Library, all host either online or in-person activities, including yoga, dance fitness, and meditation with a special senior focus. 

Dances for a Variable Population

Elder adults dancing at Grants Tomb in Riverside Park.

The nonprofit Dances for a Variable Population (DVP), a CCS grantee, cultivates community through movement. The organization provides free, low-cost dance programming and theatrical performances throughout the city for all ages and abilities, with a focus on seniors.

Seniors can join DVP for outdoor classes at Washington Square Park, Garibaldi Plaza (from May to December), and Grant’s Tomb (all year round). All are welcome, no registration required.

If the weather isn't ideal, here are a few more organizations where seniors can keep staying active—even on the rainiest days! 

Harlem Wellness Center

Older adults doing yoga.

Harlem Wellness Center, a CCS grantee, is a close-knit community of yogis devoted to health equity, racial healing, and healthier living for all. In addition to their regular schedule of classes, the center holds special classes for seniors that include the virtual senior flexibility class and an in-person chair yoga class that takes place at ARC Senior Center at 108 W. 146th St.

Seniors AIM High

Instructor leading seniors through a dance class in The Armory.

The ‘Seniors AIM High’ program fosters community through fitness. The initiative—led by The Armory Foundation and Columbia University Irving Medical Center’s Office of Community Service Programs—offers free weekly exercise sessions for 60+ adults in Washington Heights-Inwood, Harlem, and the South Bronx—rain or shine. 

The ARC Senior Centers

The ARC Senior Centers provide safe spaces for elders to commune and connect. The centers—located in Central Harlem, West Harlem, and Washington Heights—are hubs for elder community activists, artists, community leaders, and veterans to participate in recreational activities.

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