When you think about the words – fitness, wellness and exercise, what do you imagine? To many people, the vision of using cardio equipment and lifting weights comes to mind as fitness is the condition of being physically fit and healthy.
Fitness centers, like Norris Recreation Center, provide this type of equipment (and more) as part of a membership but also offer ways to get you motivated to exercise. You can choose the one-on-one coaching from a personal trainer to help keep you accountable for your routine. Or maybe you’d like to join a group fitness class led by a certified instructor who specializes in either working the total body or just focusing on strengthening your core. Seasonally, Norris offers health & wellness educational programs to inspire you to commit to be fit. Norris also specializes in teaching tennis and offering swimming lessons for all ages and abilities.
Beyond the fitness center, though, is a world of opportunities to keep you active. So where do you fitness? The St. Charles Park District encompasses a multitude of parks and facilities to meet your fitness needs.
Whenever the spirit moves you to go running or walking (with or without a furry friend), it’s pretty easy to find a trail in a park or natural area in St. Charles. Strap on the sneakers and head outdoors to breathe the fresh air and take in the scenic sights, such as the sculpture exhibit in Mt. St. Mary Park. In fact, many parks feature signs that indicate walking loops so you can track your steps. For those who would rather not walk alone, Norris offers a free monthly walking club on the 2nd and 4th Thursdays of the month. For a location schedule, call 630-377-1405. In the winter, these same trails are perfect for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.
Or grab a bike and pedal along the trails such as the River Bend Bike Trail or Fox River Bike Trail that wind throughout St. Charles to see the area from a different vantage point. Did you know that you can pedal a boat in the summer at River View Miniature Golf? And, speaking of golf, the 9-hole Pottawatomie Golf Course is a great place to experience fitness and nature simultaneously. Who doesn’t want to sweat to the sound of song birds?
Whether you like to skateboard, play disc golf or climb around a playground, you’re sure to find a place for your favorite activity close by. Even splashing at Otter Cove and Swanson Pool count as exercise, just make sure you apply a good dose of sunscreen. Interested in seeing our great city from a completely different perspective? Try kayaking down the Fox River. Boat rentals are available May-August in Pottawatomie Park.
How many calories do you think you can burn helping with chores at Primrose Farm? While it depends partially on your intensity level, activities such as hoeing and shoveling that work your entire body can burn up to 500 calories per hour. If you’d like a more peaceful experience at the farm, try a morning of meditation with Nigerian dwarf goats – a one-of-a-kind outdoor experience!
For those who choose to play sports, there’s outdoor athletic fields and courts all throughout the town. St. Charles is definitely known for its soccer, but other popular organized sports include lacrosse, football, basketball and baseball/softball. Park District recreation programs that impact your overall fitness regime range from martial arts to ballroom dancing and floor hockey to ice skating. There’s so many choices!
If you prefer to be indoors, Pottawatomie Community Center offers open gym times for a group of friends to arrange a quick pick up game of basketball, volleyball or pickleball. Concerned about balance and stability? The gentle movements of Tai Chi can help improve flexibility and strength. Want to get that heart rate operating at peak efficiency? Cardio Kickboxing is a great way to build stamina and endurance. With wellness programs that run the gamut from ‘A’ (aerobics) to ‘Z’ (zumba), park district programs provide a dazzling array of fun fitness choices for any age and skill level. Best of all, these programs are so reasonably priced – most run between $5 and $10 per session – that it’s easy to maintain an exercise program to meet your fitness goals.
Lifestyle experts and medical professionals all agree that one of the best ways to achieve a long and healthy life is through physical activity. The act of doing something – anything – that gets a body up and about, out and around, is nearly as important as what that activity may be.
But fitting a fitness program into a typical workday is often the biggest challenge. Not only are trails, paths and open-play areas ready whenever you are, park district fitness programs are conveniently offered during mornings, afternoons and evenings to accommodate even the most demanding schedule.
So ditch the excuses, dig out the workout clothes and head to the St. Charles Park District for a fun, flexible and affordable fitness program. To discover what opportunities await you: visit stcparks.org.
January 2, 2020