Faith-Based Fitness in NYC

Last month, the New York City Health Department launched a three-month Faith-Based Physical Activity Challenge. The fitness program, initiated by the Center for Health Equity’s Office of Faith-Based Initiatives, pairs certified physical fitness instructors with 50 houses of worship across the city. The instructors will teach free weekly classes – like yoga, Zumba and body conditioning – to congregants and community members. To sustain the fitness program, people who participate in the challenge can also become certified fitness instructors. The goal is for these volunteers to teach the weekly classes once the challenge ends. The Health Department will pay for and provide training. 

The Faith-Based Physical Activity Challenge is an expansion of a Health Department initiative launched in 2015 that offers wellness and fitness programs to institutions in neighborhoods with the highest burden of chronic disease. More information about participating organizations and a schedule of classes can be found at

Stephanie Daniel, 2016 graduate of the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, attended yoga classes for congregants and volunteers of the Concord Baptist Church of Christ in Brooklyn.

This report is one in a series of Voices of NY stories looking at health equity issues in the NYC area. Support for the series has been provided by the New York State Nurses Association.

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