Max Out your Workout


Pick your favorite outdoor activity; then, make the most of its fitness potential.

Did you know that Chicago has over 200 tennis courts? An avid tennis player, Jamie Silver, a sporting goods buyer for Uncle Dan’s, uses the sport as her main mode of healthy moving. Calorie burn ranges from 215-765 calories an hour. “It’s a great way to stay in shape and socialize with friends,” she says. “Plus, we’re very competitive!” Tennis focuses on every training system in your body, making a fit physique within reach. “My arms, core and legs all feel it after an hour or two on the courts,” Ms. Silver adds. “And I don’t even notice the time.”

Best Complimentary Workout
Tennis players should note that cross training is important. Add in strength training exercises to target potential injury areas, like the shoulders. External rotation band pulls: Start with a tubing at waist height and elbows tucked into ribs, grasping the band in both hands. Holding your left arm stationary, stretch the right hand out to the side about 45 degrees. Perform 12-15 repetitions on each side.

Whether at the Indiana Dunes or Oak Street beach, the sand provides a great place for challenging workouts. Experts say running in sand can burn 1.6 times more calories per mile than running on the grass. Stacie McClane, MD, of Chicago Plastic Surgery Centers, recently added a beach bootcamp workout and dune climbing to her fitness regimen. “In the sand, I feel like I’m doing each exercise in a more intense and effective way,” she says. “But the best thing is it’s so invigorating and energizing just to be in sand and near water.” It’s also easy to sneak in beach workouts while spending time with her family. “I was playing with my daughter in the dunes and we did some relays and leg work,” Dr. McClane reports. “My calves and inner thighs were a little sore, but they also felt more toned.”

Best Complimentary Workout
Beach workouts are great for cardio training and lower body, but do little for arms. Add in simple sculpt moves for shoulders and triceps.

Alphabet arms: Perform 12-15 reps of each “letter” with 3-8 pound free weights. Lift your arms to the sides for T; overheard shoulder press for U; start with hands together at belly button and lift wide to high position for V; start low with elbows at sides touching rib cage and reach wide to high position for W.

Overhead triceps: Place hands wide overhead, reaching weights back to the top of the shoulder blades and extending up. Perform 12-15 repetitions, keeping hands apart throughout the movement.

Stand up paddle boarding (SUP) is a growing trend and a powerful workout: experienced paddlers can range from 200-550 calories burned per hour. While your arms are working the paddle, the lower body and core has to stabilize on the water. “It hits my trouble spots,” affirms Kelly Friedl, president, Titanium Design Inc. “When you’re standing up straight, the stroke requires you to use every muscle in and around the stomach area. SUP also targets the inner and outer thighs. I can see a difference in the shape of my legs after just a few weeks.” She continues, “Stand up paddling offers a form of exercise that’s not only good for my body, but also for my soul. I’m never in a hurry or have concerns about distance or speed. I simply arrive at the water’s edge and see where it takes me that day.”

Best Complimentary Workout
There’s no doubt that stand up paddling doubles as a sculpt class, so targeting cardio health in addition to SUP is key. A simple 30-45 minutes of cardio a few times a week will round out a fitness program.

With over 117 miles of on-street bike lanes, 30 miles of marked shared lanes and a 20-mile shoreline bike path, Chicago is one bike-friendly city. Beth Rosen, founder and creative director of 4 Keys Media, Inc., swears by the ride from Deerfield into the city. “I love to ride my bike outside,” says Ms. Rosen. “I love how my legs feel, the fresh air and the views of the city.” And though her legs feel the burn, there are other benefits. “It’s not just my legs that get a workout, but I don’t feel tired even after riding that distance. The adrenaline after a hard bike ride makes me feel satisfied and less stressed, watching the city go by.

Best Complimentary Workout
Studies have shown that national cyclists suffered from loss of bone density despite their cardio fitness levels. Bikers need to include weight bearing resistance training 2-3 times per week, specifically targeting the lower body, upper back muscles and core.

Chopping exercises with a squat and twist: Standing, reach a 6-10 pound medicine ball up and to the right; then, with control, swing it down past the left hip and press hips back. Repeat on both sides for 12-15 repetitions.

Knee pushups: Place hands wider than the shoulders and keep a straight line from knees to head while performing 15-20 pushups.

Photograph courtesy of Great Lakes Board Company.


About Andrea Metcalf

Andrea Metcalf is a celebrity fitness trainer, author of Naked Fitness, social media maven and nationally recognized speaker. She is a contributor to NBC Chicago, Better TV, GMA Health and NBC Today Show as well as, and her own Naked Fitness blog. She participates in many charity events, from Bright Pink to ovarian cancer to American Diabetes Association. She hopes to inspire people to feel good in their own skin.