GET ACTIVE: Five Rivers MetroParks offers free fitness classes

Sunshine, smiles and breaking a sweat — RiverScape MetroPark is the ideal setting for fun spring and summer group fitness.

Five Rivers MetroParks offers a full slate of free fitness classes from May 6 through Oct. 16 at the picturesque downtown park. From meditative practices like yoga and tai chi to adrenaline pumping Zumba and boot camp workouts, there is something for all ages and fitness levels.

“It’s very important for us that equitable access to the outdoors and outdoor experiences, such as Fitness in the Park, are available to everyone so they can create healthy habits in a fun way, whether if that is with slower, intentional movement or high impact workouts,” said Rachel Baney, RiverScape program coordinator. “These free fitness classes offer that, as well as an opportunity to be part of and to build community. The instructors are all community members who have a genuine interest in connecting to participants to encourage them to get out and be active.”

Community Fitness

The Community Fitness series began in 2022 and classes have increased in participation and options with more than 3,000 participants during 2023. Classes vary in style but are all beginner friendly.

Dayton Contemporary Dance Company is a newcomer to the RiverScape fitness programming. Stay Fit with DCDC is a Tabata-style fitness class – an interval training method with cycles of higher intensity movement – taught by a company dancer. The class is designed for all fitness levels with modifications welcome.

“They can choose how much they want to put into it and our instructor can also adapt as the class goes along,” said Kevin Ward DCDC senior artistic advisor.

The first-time pairing with the MetroParks is a welcome one.

“We’re excited, we want to do more things in the community and participate in as many events as possible,” Ward said.

While DCDC is a newcomer, The Unit has been a RiverScape mainstay for several years with boot-camp style workouts held twice a week. Whether they are running the stairs along the riverbank or stretching by the fountains, The Unit is focused on creating a supportive and encouraging community for long-time fitness enthusiasts and newcomers alike.

Immortal Tree Qigong returns to RiverScape with Tai Chi and Qigong sessions that start with breathing exercises, a warm-up and gentle stretching. Participants will then be guided through flowing movements mixed with short standing meditations and end the practice with a guided standing or sitting meditation. These traditional Chinese exercises have a variety of health benefits and are suitable for participants of all ages and abilities.

On the other end of the fitness energy spectrum, BootyMix is designed to make you feel alive and give you the confidence to take control of your life through community, movement, and music. The upbeat classes aren’t about perfection, they are about permission to be yourself.

Fitness in the Park

Saturday morning is made for fitness with the MetroParks Fitness in the Park series. From a centering community yoga practice to an upbeat Zumba dance party, the RiverScape Pavilion is packed with fellow fitness enthusiasts.

“It’s very evident to us how important the Fitness in the Park series is to our visitors,” Baney said. “These classes continue to see regulars and new faces week to week.”

Tori Reynolds, of Speakeasy Yoga, has been sharing her passion for yoga at RiverScape for more than a decade. From the beautiful setting to the increased accessibility of a free community class, the Yoga in the Park series is a summer highlight for yogis of all experience levels with as many as 150 people rolling out their yoga mats for a session. And the open-level Vinyasa classes are offered with variations and modifications so all ages and ability levels can enjoy the experience.

For those who would rather jump into the weekend, Zumba in the Park, with Meg Millat, will start your Saturday with a dance party. Two left feet are not a problem as Zumba – with a blend of low and high-intensity movement – is not about perfection, as it is touted as exercise in disguise.

“Every instructor aims to be as inclusive as possible, encouraging participants to show up wherever they are in their fitness journey by providing modifications and overall encouragement throughout the class,” Baney said. “Whether you prefer low impact, high intensity, or dancing somewhere in between, we hope everyone can find their place in in one of our many fitness offerings.”

For a complete list of classes and programs, visit

RiverScape Fitness – May Events

(Classes are free and registration is not required)

* May 6, 13, 20: BootyMix, 6-7 p.m., RiverScape Pavilion

* May 6, 13, 20: The Unit, 6-7:30 p.m., Festival Plaza

* May 7, 14, 21, 28: Tai Chi & Qigong at the River, 6-7 p.m., RiverScape Pavilion

* May 8, 15, 22, 29: Stay Fit with DCDC, 6-7 p.m., RiverScape Pavilion

* May 8, 15, 22, 29: The Unit, 6-7:30 p.m., Festival Plaza

* May 11: Yoga in the Park, 10-11 a.m., RiverScape Pavilion

* May 18: Zumba in the Park, 10-11 a.m., RiverScape Pavilion

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