If you live in a city like Chicago, then you have your share of challenges when it comes to staying in shape. With endless fine dining options, you may find yourself losing the battle to keeping fit in Chicago. Although group classes and gym memberships are not always the right fit for older adults, there are other exercise options that keep you active as you age. Here are 10 things to do in Chicago that target multiple wellness dimensions for seniors living in an urban landscape.
1. Stop to Smell the Flowers
Get some exercise by walking around a park or botanical garden, such as the Chicago Botanic Gardens. Research shows that simply enjoying the great outdoors can lower stress. I’m not saying you have to hug a tree in appreciation…unless you want to. But take a day to stroll around gardens or parks in the Chicago area to lower stress and enjoy some light exercise.
2. Visit Local Museums
Enjoy a cultural experience at a museum while racking up your steps. Chicago has a wide variety of museums for art, science, history and much more! Take in some culture at the same time and visit the Art Institute of Chicago. This is a great excuse to check out the latest exhibit while stepping your way towards health.
3. Go for a Walk with a Pet
Use a cute pooch as your excuse to get out and about on a regular basis. There are plenty of pet-friendly parks in the Chicago area that let you enjoy nature with your furry companion. Start slowly and build up to a faster pace and further distance over time.
4. Try Out Water Sports
If you enjoy spending time on the water, try sailing, canoeing, or kayaking. This can be a fun option to mix into your routine by getting out on the water. Adult sailing classes in Chicago let you learn the basics while getting some exercise. Don’t forget to take pictures of the beautiful views to show all of your friends!
5. Take the Stairs
Stairs are everywhere throughout the City of Chicago. If this is a safe option for you, try challenging yourself with some easy stair routines. Walk them, do sidesteps, every-other step them…there is no wrong way, so be creative. I usually do stairs while listening to Eye of the Tiger and pretend I’m Rocky Balboa!
6. Explore Your City’s Architecture and History
Whether it’s on foot or on a bike, explore the ins and outs of Chicago while getting some outdoors exercise. Chicago even offers bike rental services, so if you don’t own a bike, just rent one!
7. Participate in an Organized Race Event
Chicago hosts 5ks, half-marathons, and other races for you to participate in throughout the year. Select a race with a meaningful cause to you and train accordingly. This can also provide a target end-goal for your exercise regimen.
8. Attend Festivals or Street Markets
Going to festivals and farmers’ markets gives you an opportunity to walk around Chicago and even pick up a few fresh treats. There are dozens of events each month that let you get outdoor exercise while being social with a few hundred of your closest friends!
9. Beat the Traffic by Walking Instead of Driving
Given the accessibility of many locations in Chicago, try walking to and from appointments and events. Walk to grocery stores, hair appointments, doctor’s appointments, dentists, and the theaters when appropriate. This is a healthy option that also benefits the environment.
10. Try a Gentle Yoga or Tai Chi Class
Both of these classes offer endless benefits to seniors since they are gentle on joints, promote range of motion, and work on improving balance through core strengthening movements. Some classes will even meet outside on nice days, allowing you to enjoy the nice weather that Chicago summers offer.
What ways have you found to stay fit in Chicago? If you are just beginning to explore the world of fitness for seniors, keep these safety recommendations in mind to optimize your overall wellness. Exercise is important as we age and keeps us healthy during our retirement years. Keep these tips in mind for exercising in Chicago and share with your loved ones to keep them active!