Get Outside, Chicago!

Fitness Outdoors

 

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In case you haven't noticed, Spring is FINALLY
here!  This means that those of us living with cabin fever can get
outdoors and enjoy the sunshine and warm weather.  The city of Chicago
and surrounding suburbs offer lots of great ways to get active
outdoors.  See my list of recommended spots to get outdoors, get
active, and have some fitness fun!

Keep reading for some suggestions on how you can get active outdoors in Chicago and the suburbs...

Chicago Park District

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http://www.chicagoparkdistrict.com/

A
good place to start is within the Chicago Park District.  On their
website you will find a list of parks and facilities, as well as
programs and events that are offered.  To keep things free, the best
thing you can do is utilize the many paths for biking, running and
walking.  There are also numerous fields available where you can get
groups together to play sports, do workouts, or just play frisbee with
the dog.  If you want to spend some money you can check out the fitness
facilities, sports leagues, and various classes that are offered
through the Parks District.  You'll find everything from baseball to
ballet and everything in between.  Whether you are hard core or just a
beginner, there is a class for you.  So, see what is available... I bet
there's more than you knew!

Forest Preserves of Cook County

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http://www.fpdcc.com/

If
you don't live in the city, then it's likely you live closer to one
of the many forest preserves located throughout the Chicago area.  To
see if there is one near you, click on "maps" once you get to the
website.  I, personally, LOVE the forest preserves!  They give you a
chance to escape from the hustle and bustle of city life and actually
get out into the woods.  My favorite thing to do is hike... get off the
beaten path and go in search of nature.  I've seen my fair share of
deer and other wildlife, and I LOVE it!  The paths are also fabulous
for biking, blading, running, walking, and you can even find areas to
go canoeing and horseback riding!  So, if you want to get outdoors, get
in some activity, and escape city life... check for your local forest
preserve.

Morton Arboretum

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http://www.mortonarb.org/

I
am also a huge fan of the Morton Arboretum.  Now, if your idea is to
pack a picnic and hit up nature, then don't go here... no food allowed
(however, they do have a restaurant on site, which is rather tasty; I
recall eating a fabulous salad while there).  Also keep in mind that no
pets are allowed on site.  However, this is a place to go if you want
gorgeous
scenery and plenty of grounds to walk.  Got kids?  Check out their
Summer Science Camps!  The Arboretum also offers Theatre Hikes
performances (see some theatre while getting in a nature hike) and
various other arts and entertainment activities.  They also have a
great gift shop (my mom loved the plate set that I got for her there). 
So, if you've never been out there, then I recommend taking a fantastic
Spring or Summer day and checking it out!

Chicago Botanic
Gardens

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http://www.chicago-botanic.org/

The
Chicago Botanic Garden is another favorite spot of mine.  The gardens
are
simply gorgeous!  Like the Morton Arboretum, the Botanic Gardens
feature lovely walking paths (each garden is themed, so you have new
plants and places to explore in each area) as well as seasonal events. 
Check out
their calendar for upcoming events.  They usually offer lots of family
activities.  Also, they charge by the carload to get in... so take one
car and pack everyone in to get the most bang for your buck!  I should
also take this time to mention that for both the Morton Arboretum and
the Botanic Gardens, you can go to your local library and get free
passes to get in (check with the information desk about these... they
are limited, so you may have to wait a bit to get the one that you
want).

Biking in Chicago

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Chicago
Bike Guide Link

Do
you like to ride your bike in the warm weather?  Make sure you are up
to date with the latest rules and regulations involving the biking
program
with the city of Chicago.  On the website you can get the latest news
and
you can also download a Chicago bike map to find all recommended bike
routes throughout the city.  Remember... wear a helmet, obey traffic
laws, and be safe!  Riding bikes on the streets of the city can be very
great for saving money and getting fit, but always be alert of your
surroundings, because it can also be dangerous if you are not careful. 
Ride safely!

Chicago Walking Tours
http://www.chicagoredcaptours.com/Home.html

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If
you have friends or family coming in from out of town, or if you just
want to get more familiar with your city, consider checking out a
Chicago walking tour!  Leave the Segway in the dust and use the legs
you were born with to see your great city.  I've always been a big fan
of walking instead of standing on a moving platform, but I won't get on
that soapbox right now ;-)  Plus, when you walk you can take things at
your own pace and you don't have to worry about falling off your vehicle
while trying to look up at the buildings!

MeetUp.com
www.meetup.com

Want
to find more people who want to get fit and are interested in the same
activities as you?   Check out Meetup.com to find a group to join! 
You'll have LOTS of choices... from walkers, to runners, to biking, to
general fitness and nutrition.  Make sure that you join a group with an
active calendar and that has active members so that you can be sure
there
will be plenty activities to choose from.

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In fact, I run a meetup.com group and I'd love to have you join
me!

Check us out at www.meetup.com/NEIllinoisFitClub

I
post as many FREE classes as I can find in Evanston, and the surrounding
areas, and we also have a Walking Club and I'll be adding some workouts
in the park as we continue into summer.  Join us!

So, are you ready to get outside and have some fitness fun!?

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