Free Places to Work Out Abound in Rochester Region

By Kevin DeValk

Want to get to the gym, but that $30 or $40 or more a month for membership just isn’t in your wallet?

Working out doesn’t have to be expensive. Western New York offers numerous places where you can get the experience of the gym, either for free or for a nominal fee. You usually won’t get the robust lineup of equipment and convenient hours of the YMCA or Rochester Athletic Club, but, if you’re trying to get in shape, here are four very inexpensive avenues that will shred that gym bill.

Schools and Community Centers

Some schools offer open gym nights for district residents, before and after school and on weekends, although availability works around the school’s needs. Many community centers have a gym or treadmill room. Earlier this year, Henrietta opened its new recreation center, which, for $10 a year, provides residents with a gym with several basketball courts, and an indoor walking track. The city of Rochester offers free use of fitness rooms in its community centers to residents. Gates-Chili High School offers free use of its gym, pool, fitness center and other facilities to district residents at its new field house. The only cost is $15, for a one-time orientation class on the workout equipment. The field house is open on various weeknights from 6 to 9:30 pm and on the weekend. A calendar is on its website, www.gateschili.org

Henrietta’s new recreation center, which opened in January on Calkins Road, offers a gym with an upper-level track. Information on offerings can be found in quarterly guides published by most local towns, or at parksandrecreation.henrietta.org.

College Gyms

If you’re not affiliated with a local college, your best bets are at smaller schools. Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva offer a limited membership to the community at its Bristol Field House, which gives access to the tennis, racquetball and basketball courts, and indoor track, for $70 a year. ($40 if you are over 50). New York Chiropractic College in Seneca Falls offers community memberships to its fitness center; while most are over $300 a year, it’s only $120 for senior citizens.

Local Parks

In recent years, exercise equipment has come to the great outdoors. Several local parks offer “outdoor workout stations,” ideal for stretching, chin-ups and other regimens. The Genesee Gateway Park in the South Wedge has a stationary bike, combo press pull and elliptical pull. On the Erie Canal trail, just east of Genesee Valley Park, joggers, bikers and other people can stop to work out at calisthenics parks, with pull bars, incline bars and high bars for muscle-ups, although, under the great canopy of the open sky, none of these will be much fun when the weather’s bad.

Churches

Several of the area’s larger houses of worship offer workout programs in their gyms. Victory Church in Henrietta has a workout room and gymnasium and sponsors a variety of programs, including aerobics, karate and weight lifting. All are free. Journey Christian Church in Greece offers free family fitness classes. Each of these is open to anyone; you don’t have to belong to these churches to participate.

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