Chicago Park District
 

Accessibility Information

Summer Day Camps

NEW 2014 Special Event Permit Application Process

Looking for a great summer job?  Become a Chicago Park District lifeguard.  Apply now!

Share your ideas!

whistleblower

Fitness Tips

PFWI_WebBanner_697x150_v2

Low cost professional fitness classes begin April 1st.

 



ENJOY THESE TIPS FROM OUR FITNESS EXPERTS:

PFWI_WebBanner_Fitness_Photos_3           PFWI_WebBanner_Fitness_Photos_1          PFWI_WebBanner_Fitness_Photos_2
              Coach Paul                                                  Coach Kinga                                            Coach McCain


 

FITNESS TIPS

Our fitness experts have compiled this set of educational and informative health & fitness tips, ideas and advice to help you get fit for life.

The fitness tips are divided into four categories: 

(1) Motivation
(2) Nutrition
(3) Exercise 
(4) Stay Hydrated!

Best of luck, good health, stick with it and stay active!

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

MOTIVATION

Five tips for staying motivated: Add focus & fun to your exercise routine!
 

  1. Set goals: Start simple and progress to long-term fitness goals. Be realistic about your goals and make them achievable. For example: a short-term goal might be to walk for 10 minutes a day, three days a week. Building upon this, you may work your way up to walking 30 minutes a day, five days a week, with the long-term goal of completing a 5K walk.
     
  2. Add a physical activity to your daily routine: It’s easy to get bored with the same fitness routine each day. Instead, add activities to your everyday routine, such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator, riding your bike to work or school, or stretching while watching TV.
     
  3. Record your progress: You may find it easier to stick with a fitness program if you faithfully record your activities, so write it down! Recording your efforts can help you work on your goals and will show evidence that you’re making progress.
     
  4. Enlist friends, neighbors and co-workers: Invite buddies to join you when you exercise. Make plans with a friend to try racquetball, get in a round of golf with a neighbor, or take a lunch hour walk with a co-worker.
     
  5. Make it fun: Your best chance of continuing with a fitness routine is to keep it fun. Change it up if you’re not looking forward to your routine. Try something new such as a dance class, a martial arts program, or join a softball league. Exercise can be a lot of fun, and you’re more likely to stay motivated if you’re enjoying yourself.

 

=====

 

Stay active in your daily life!

Not enough time to make it to the gym every day? Consider all of the ways that you can stay active during your daily life:

  • Take a family walk after dinner
     
  • Get a pedometer and start tracking the number of steps you take each day, try to progress up to 10,000 steps or more per day
     
  • Walk your dog daily
     
  • When watching TV, stand up and move around during each commercial break
     
  • Play with your kids 15-30 minutes a day
     
  • Pick up a new active hobby, such as biking around your neighborhood instead of driving

 

=====

 

The benefits of walking!

The benefits you receive from walking every day helps your body stay active and remain flexible, and has been found to also benefit your brain and general feelings of well-being.

Studies by the Duke University Medical Center found that a brisk 30-minute walk or jog around a track three times a week was just as effective as antidepressant medication in relieving the symptoms of major depression in middle-aged and elderly people. Further, a recent study by Harvard University found that walking at a moderate pace (3 mph) for up to 3 hours a week – or 30 minutes a day – can cut the risk of heart disease in women by as much as 40%!

Walking is good for your brain, it improves bone density, lowers the risk of breast and colon cancer, improves resting blood pressure and blood sugar levels, and best of all, requires no additional equipment and you can do it almost anywhere, at any time.

10 ways to get more steps in your day:

  1. Park your car further away from the entrance
     
  2. Take the stairs instead of the elevator
     
  3. Take walk breaks instead of snack breaks at work
     
  4. Skip the drive thru
     
  5. During TV commercials get up off the couch and take a walk around the house
     
  6. When on the phone, instead of sitting, pace while talking
     
  7. While kids are at their activities, take a walk
     
  8. Get off the bus or train a stop early and walk the remaining distance
     
  9. Deliver memos or messages in person instead of via email or phone while at work
     
  10. Before shopping take a lap around the mall or store

Walking trails in the parks: http://www.chicagoparkdistrict.com/facilities/paths-trails/

 

=====

 

Stay fit while at work!

Do you spend most of your working day sitting in a chair at a desk? Does the rest of your day and evening include sitting in a chair while you eat dinner, watch TV, and go online to read shop or do your banking?

Scientists are finding that sitting too much during the day can impair your body’s ability to deposit fat from the blood stream into the body. These constantly elevated blood fats are a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. That is, your body’s healthy cholesterol (known as “HDL cholesterol”), which cleans up plaque sticking to arteries, is impaired when your body is stationary in a seated position for hours at a time over a long time period.

However, all studies are showing that moving more during the day, in addition to getting 30 minutes of moderate activity on a daily basis, is necessary to lower your risk of cardiovascular disease.

Here’s an opportunity to incorporate different movements into your day that fit seamlessly into your daily activities and lifestyle. Try to incorporate a few of these suggestions into your work day and enjoy good health!

  1. Take a walk break every time you take a coffee break
     
  2. Do some leisurely walking with colleagues after you eat lunch together at work
     
  3. Stand up and move around whenever you have a drink of water at work
     
  4. Whenever possible stand up as opposed to sitting down
     
  5. Try standing while speaking during business phone conversations
     
  6. Stop at the park on your way home from work and take a walk
     
  7. Walk to a co-worker's desk instead of emailing or calling her/him
     
  8. Walk briskly when headed to meetings
     
  9. Take the stairs whenever you can

 

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

NUTRITION

Obesity & Moderation

Recent studies have found that about one-third of American adults (33.8%) are “obese” and that childhood obesity has more than tripled in the past 30 years. “Obesity” is defined as a Body Mass Index (“BMI”) measured at or above the 95th percentile. There are many causes of obesity, including calorie imbalance and unhealthy eating patterns, but fortunately, many sensible ways to combat and reduce obesity. Combining regular exercise with purposeful healthy eating can create noticeable short term results and long term good health.

Many of the foods available today are served in larger portions than they were 20 years ago. Consequently determining how many calories you are eating can become a bit tricky when considering how many “portions” you are eating versus “servings”.

A “portion” is the amount of food you choose to eat. Most of the time portions are larger than the suggested serving size. A “serving” is the exact measurement found on a food label.

What can you do to make smaller portions of your food?

  • Use smaller utensils
  • When eating out order an appetizer instead of an entrée
  • Eat regularly

The secret to portion size is comparing your food to the size of your hand!

  • 1 cup = 1 fist
  • 3oz of meat = palm of a hand
  • 1 teaspoon = a thumb tip
  • 1 serving of fruit = 1 tennis ball
  • 2oz = a handful
  • 1oz of cheese = a thumb

Should you choose fresh, frozen or canned products?

  • At times frozen fruits and vegetables may be healthier than fresh because they are packaged at their peak ripeness
  • Buy fresh when it is in season
  • Canned products should be in water or natural juice

 

=====

 

Healthy breakfast options!

The average American requires 2,000 calories daily. Here’s some healthy breakfast options to jump start your day on the right foot:

  • Fresh fruit
  • Yogurt (low fat or fat-free)
  • Bagels (1 oz. or less)
  • Muffins (small or mini)
  • Granola bar
  • Breakfast sandwich

 

=====

 

Healthy lunch, dinner & dessert suggestions

The average American requires 2,000 calories daily. Ideally, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, each day you should try to eat 6 ounces of grains, 5.5 ounces of meat or beans, 3 cups of dairy and 6 teaspoons of healthy oils such as olive or peanut oil.

Healthy lunch and dinner suggestions:

  • Bread products should be whole wheat or multi-grain
  • Meat servings should be lean cuts
  • Be sure to include vegetable and fruits
  • No fried foods or cream sauces

Healthy dessert ideas:

  • Fig Newtons
  • Small, low-fat muffins
  • Fruit salad
  • Rice Krispie treats
  • Sherbet, fruit ice or reduced fat ice cream

 

=====

 

Healthy snack options!

The average American requires 2,000 calories daily. Here are some healthy snack options to help bridge your appetite and keep your energy levels up in between meals:

  • Fresh fruit or vegetables
  • String cheese
  • Pita chips & hummus
  • Light popcorn
  • Baked tortilla chips & salsa
  • Trail mix
  • Pretzels

 

=====

 

Healthy beverages!

Staying hydrated is essential for everyone, and especially for those who are pursuing and leading an active lifestyle. Not drinking enough fluids can cause muscle cramps, reducing sweating, cause headaches and even nausea.

Here are some recommendations for anyone who is interested in a healthy beverage:

  • Water
  • 100% fruit juice
  • Skim or 1% milk
  • Unsweetened coffee or tea

Water VS. Sports drinks

  • For sports that require less than 60 minutes of exertion, your main concern is replacing water because loss of electrolytes such as sodium, chloride and potassium in sweat is not very great.

o   These electrolytes can easily be replaced later by eating potassium-rich fruits and vegetables such as tomatoes, oranges and potatoes, as well as pickles, ham, cheese or salted snacks

  • For endurance, athletic sports drinks can provide a convenient way to get fluids, carbohydrates and electrolytes

 

=====

 

Sports nutrition ideas for the active athlete

A solid nutrition program will support your training and improve your performance, all while promoting your general health and wellness. “Eating right” will help you train longer and at higher intensity, delay fatigue, promote recovery, improve strength, maintain a healthy immune system and reduce the risk of injury.

Fuel for fitness

  • Whole grain oats: delicious and easy to digest before or after a workout. The soluble fiber in oatmeal may help lower cholesterol
     
  • Yogurt and fruit: a winning carbohydrate combination. Yogurt provides protein and some calcium while fruit adds a natural sweetness and Vitamin C for tired and sore muscles. Eat before a workout
     
  • Pasta and protein: carbohydrates plus protein helps repair muscles and refuel your tank. Try a whole wheat pasta or rice noodles. Lean meats (pork, beef, poultry, fish) are high in B vitamins and/or Omega 3, providing a metabolism boost and extra energy producing power
     
  • Sweet potatoes: a true super food that’s packed with vitamins, minerals and is a great source of energy producing carbohydrate. One cup of sweet potato contains 20% of your daily potassium needs, plus energy-boosting vitamin B6 and more than 700% of your daily vitamin A needs.

 

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

EXERCISE

Exercise & the common cold

The common cold is probably the most frequently occurring illness in humans worldwide. There are more than 200 different viruses that cause colds, and the average person catches two or three colds a year.

Getting extra rest, drinking plenty of hot fluids and over-the-counter cold remedies is your best shot at treating most colds. Keeping your immune system in good shape is your best defense against catching colds during the cold and flu seasons.

Can a walk a day keep colds away?

Research has shown that during moderate exercise, several positive changes occur in the immune system. Although the immune system returns to pre-exercise levels quickly after the exercise session is over, each session delivers a boost that appears to reduce the risk of catching a cold over the long term.

Another survey of 170 experienced runners who had been training for 12 years, 90% reported that they “definitely” or “mostly agreed” with the statement that they “rarely get sick”. In general, people who exercise report fewer colds than people who do not exercise with any regularity.

 

=====

 

Stretching & strength exercises!

You have an excellent opportunity to stretch every time you sit down to read, go online or while watching TV. Here are some stretching suggestions that will also help strengthen your body.

Lower body

Wall Sit:
With your back to the wall, slowly lower your body so that your thighs become parallel with the floor, as if you were sitting on a chair.

Chair Pose:
Lower your body into the same sitting position as the “Wall Sit” but without the support of the wall. Reach your hands toward the ceiling so that your arm biceps are near your ears

Upper body

Wall Push-Up:
Facing a wall, place your hands at chest level, with your wrists in line with your shoulders.  Your feet should be approximately two feet away from the wall. Exactly alike the motion of a standard push-up, lower your chest towards the wall and then push the wall away from you.

 

=====

 

Stretching & cardiovascular exercises!

You have an excellent opportunity to stretch every time you sit down to read, go online or while watching TV. Here are some stretching suggestions that will also help your breathing, your body’s blood circulation and your heart.

Lower body

March in place:
During TV commercials stand up and march in place.

High knees:
To bump up your heart rate, run in place and try to bring your knees to your chest. Remember to keep your back straight and your chest proud.

Upper body

Jumping jacks:
The old gym class favorite! See how many you can do for 2 minutes. Now try 5 minutes.

Arm circles:
Lift your arms so that they are extended out to the side and level with your shoulders. You can do big or small arm circles, forwards or backwards. Impress your family and friends by doing your arm circles and balancing on one leg.

 

=====

 

Stretching & flexibility exercises!

You have an excellent opportunity to stretch every time you sit down to read, go online or while watching TV. Here are some stretching suggestions that will also help with your general flexibility.

Lower body

Calf Stretch:
Step close to the wall, place one foot on the wall, making sure that your heel remains on the ground. The closer you step to the wall the deeper the stretch will be.

Quadriceps Stretch:
This will require balance, you can use the wall for support if you’d like. Standing straight, bend your leg up and behind you so that you can grab your ankle and hold. Hold for a few seconds and then release your ankle. Repeat this quad stretch with your other leg.

Upper body

Shoulder rolls:
Lift your shoulders to your ears, bring your shoulders forward, push shoulders down and then push your shoulders back. Repeat as you’d like; you can also feel free to change the rotation of the rolls.

 

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

STAY HYDRATED!

Stay hydrated when you exercise!

Water is the most essential component of the human body; more than half of your body is composed of water! It’s important to drink water before, during and after your exercise.

  • Drink 3-8 fluid ounces of water every 15-20 minutes when you exercise for less than one hour
  • Drink 3-8 fluid ounces of a sports drink every 15-20 when you exercise for more than one hour
  • Do not drink more than one quart per hour during exercise

 

=====

 

Dehydration and fluid balance

When you exercise your body temperature increases. Your body sweats to get rid of the excess heat, which is primarily composed of water and electrolytes such as sodium. By losing water and electrolytes, your body becomes dehydrated, which can make you feel sick and dramatically decrease your physical performance.

Signs of dehydration:

  • Muscle fatigue
  • Loss of coordination
  • Cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke
  • Decreased energy and athletic performance

It’s important to stay hydrated during exercise, listen to what your body is telling you and try to keep a fluid balance:

  • “Thirst” is a signal that your body is becoming dehydrated
  • It’s important to drink before you feel thirsty
  • Drink throughout the day, before and after exercise, to keep an optimum fluid balance