Taking a workout outside is what summer in Chicago is all about.
After months of having to stare at yourself in the mirror while hitting the treadmill, it’s about time your workouts got an awakening. In summer, nothing beats hitting the Chicago lakefront for some sweat and sunshine. Take to some muscle-happy yoga or heart-pumping cardio and restore your sense of control.
After work, all of that stress can lead to one major burnout. Instead, find some time during your day to get outside for a little ‘om’ practice. Chicago S.U.P Yoga (yoga on a stand-up paddleboard) is held every Sunday – starting June 2 – from 10-11:30AM at Montrose Beach. There’s also the Chicago Park District’s Sun and Moon Beach Yoga, offering daily outdoor yoga classes at North Avenue Beach May 25-Sept. 9.
Looking for a solo workout before classes start? Apps like Daily Yoga, Yoga For Runners and Yoga Studio are easy-to-follow programs that give options for all levels at any time of day. And knowing that you can take your yoga program with you anywhere along the lakefront can help you ‘chaturanga’ more often.
Can’t get away during the day? Head to the beach first thing in the morning. Yeah, it requires discipline, but early yoga helps you avoid the noisy beach crowd and set an intention for the day. Start with your mind and body in sync and your day will go far.
Switching to cardio workouts, studies show that exercising outside will not only make you feel stronger, but you’ll likely exercise longer because being outside is so enjoyable. Walking lunges up and down the beach strengthen calves, thighs and glutes. Plus, working out in the sand increases the resistance against your legs, giving you double the leg workout in half the time. You can also try interval training where you alternate beach sprints with your lunges. Add in push-ups or dips off a bench for a full-body workout or, for more endurance training, rent a bike from Lakeshore Bike’n’Tune or pick up a set of rollerblades at Londo Mondo.
As a Vitamin D deficient city during winter, it’s imperative that we take advantage of the free vitamins obtained from a brisk walk in the sun this season. In addition to improving your blood pressure and immunity, Vitamin D is also linked to improved athletic performance and preventing injuries like stress fractures, which are common among endurance runners. A minimum of 10 minutes a day spent outside can restore you body like a reset button.
Constant exposure to a number of life’s stresses can lead to increased anxiety and heart disease; making the time to take meditation break or a walk in the fresh air can help take your blood pressure from high to happy. Nature offers a free, reflective workout arena open all day, every day, so spend some quality time along Chicago’s 18-mile lakefront this summer and you’ll feel stronger inside and out.
Kristyna Archer Photograph