Elements of the Bronx Bench Workout, as demonstrated by Ana de la Cruz and Angel Lopez.

Lizzie Ford-Madrid

Elements of the Bronx Bench Workout, as demonstrated by Ana de la Cruz and Angel Lopez.

The forecast for tomorrow calls for mid-70s and sunny. It’s time to put away the heavy fleece—and the excuses for not toning up a bit for the summer months. Forget that the gym is too expensive or that the hours are inconvenient or that you no longer have matching head- and wristbands. As teenage advocates (and athletes) Ana de la Cruz and Angel Lopez of the Mary Mitchell Center demonstrate in the video below, a simple park bench can be the key to your Spring 2016 plan to get in shape.

City Limits commissioned this video (directed and filmed by Lizzie Ford-Madrid and edited by Konstantin Vilenchitz) as part of the focus on youth health that underlay our 2014-2015 Bronx Investigative Internship Program. Funded by the Simon Bolivar Foundation, that project produced articles on the proximity of fast-food joints to high schools, the lack of data on physical education provision in schools, the relative lack of access to private gyms in the Bronx and the barriers between that borough’s residents and the city’s growing network of bike lanes. (The program continues, but shifted focus last fall to looking at inmate access to public information.)

Leading workouts is not typically how Ana and Angel try to improve the health of the Bronx. With other youth leaders at the Mary Mitchell Center, they lobby public officials and rally community support to increase access to open space and raise awareness of the uneven, but growing, availability of health food in their community.

Without further ado, let’s throw on the sweat-stained sleeveless and see if we can hang with the Bronx Bench Workout: