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Wellness Wednesdays pop-ups, 'Go Runs, Free Fitness Week get Chicagoans into parks for free wellness activities starting in May. 

The Chicago Park District announced the launch of “May in Motion,” an initiative that will call upon Chicagoans to explore wellness activities throughout the month of May to connect with public amenities and programs that promote healthy habits. In past years, the Chicago Park District has celebrated active living with the one-day Chicago Moves Day event. This year, the month-long awareness campaign will ensure Chicagoans from all community areas can participate in the multitude of our wellness programs. 

Press availability: Wednesday, May 1 – Press Conference at Humboldt Park to present the Health & Wellness Pillars, Launch of May in Motion and introduce the Health Advisory Council:

o    4:00 pm - Wellness, nutrition and fitness activities
o    4:30 pm – Press conference with local leaders in health, wellness and recreation.
o    6:00 pm – Yoga Flow May in Motion class begins at the Humboldt Park Boathouse.

To promote the wellness of patrons and employees, the Chicago Park District’s “May in Motion” initiative will feature: 

  • Wellness Wednesdays: Free indoor and outdoor Yoga Flow, Mat Pilates, and Boot Camp classes at 9 iconic park locations citywide each Wednesday in May.
  • Free Fitness Week: Features free access to 70 fitness centers from May 28, 2024, to June 2, 2024. Only that week will be free, and participants will be encouraged to acquire a Fitness Center membership to attend their local Fitness Center 
  • ‘Go Runs: Free, timed community runs in partnership with the Chicago Area Runners Association, that take place each Saturday at distinct park locations citywide.
  • Wellness Programs: Spring and Summer program registration is open for classes that encourage the development of a healthy routine with fellow community members.
  • Park Kids ‘Go Guide:  A guide will be made available to our Park Kids afterschool program staff for our program participants to incorporate different types of movement into children’s daily activities while they are at the park to promote wellness. 
  • WorkWell Challenge: Employees of the Chicago Park District, and sister agencies will be encouraged to acquire a fitness center membership.
  • City Agency Challenge: City of Chicago employees benefit from a 30% discount on Chicago Park District fitness center memberships year-round. Sign-up must take place in person, and the discount is applied on-site, at the point of purchase. 

“Movement is medicine and with that in mind, this new initiative will guide our health and wellness policies moving forward as well as program development year-round. The Chicago Park District’s priority is to keep people of all ages moving,” said Chicago Park District Superintendent and CEO Rosa Escareño. “Movement is the best way to combat chronic disease, and our amenities, staff, and programs stand on the front lines alongside Chicagoans to stave off the woes of illnesses associated with a lack of diet and exercise. By providing free access to classes and facilities, we hope the public will see that preventative health is accessible and affordable.”

One of the Chicago Park District’s many functions is to facilitate and promote engagement in all types of physical activity, no matter your age or ability. For those that are able, our organization encourages 150 minutes of movement per week. The Chicago Park District offers 31 running tracks, 22 indoor pools, almost 9,000 acres of green space, and hundreds of sports fields and athletic courts. No matter your age or ability, the Chicago Park District recommends 30 minutes of movement at least 5 days a week.

As part of this initiative, the Chicago Park District is proud to introduce its three pillars of health, which will serve as guiding principles on policy and programming:

  • Promoting Community Wellbeing: Park District is committed to connecting community members, including Park District employees, to essential programs and resources that advance wellbeing, improve health outcomes, and enhance quality of life. 
  • Supporting Active Living Through Parks: Park District provides access to spaces and programs to allow Chicagoans to lead active lifestyles. 
  • Ensuring a Healthy Food Environment: Park District supports access to healthy food options for those who are food insecure; increasing nutrition education to improve diet quality and reduce chronic disease risk.

The entries below feature expanded descriptions of the May in Motion offerings. A full catalogue of events and resources is available at

May in Motion: Wellness Wednesdays

Adults ages 18 and older are invited to join free pop-up Yoga Flow, Mat Pilates, or Boot Camp classes at any of 9 park locations throughout the city. Each class is open to participants of all abilities. Mats will be provided; however, participants are encouraged to bring their own.

The full schedule of May in Motion Fitness Classes can be found here: 

May 1, 2024

Yoga Flow
Eleanor Boathouse, Outdoors, Park No. 571, 2828 S. Eleanor St. 
6:00 a.m. – 06:45 a.m.

Mat Pilates
Eleanor Boathouse, Outdoors, Park No. 571, 2828 S. Eleanor St. 
7:00 a.m. – 7:45 a.m.

Yoga Flow
Humboldt Park Boathouse, Humboldt Park Boathouse, Outdoors (Covered) 1440 N. Humboldt Blvd.
6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

May 8, 2024

Boot Camp
Armor Square Park, Outdoor, 3309 S. Shields Ave.
6:00 p.m. – 6:45 p.m.

May 15, 2024

Yoga Flow
Gold Star Family Memorial Park, Outdoors, East of Soldier Field on Special Olympics Dr. between McFetridge Dr. and Waldron Dr.
6:00 a.m. – 6:45 p.m.

Boot Camp
Gold Star Family Memorial Park, Outdoors, East of Soldier Field on Special Olympics Dr. between McFetridge Dr. and Waldron Dr.
7:00 a.m. – 7:45 a.m.

Yoga Flow
Garfield Park, Room 104, Indoors, 300 N. Central Park Ave.
6:00 p.m. – 6:45 p.m.

May 22, 2024

Yoga & Pilates
Jackson Park, Osaka Garden, 6401 S. Stony Island Ave.
6:00 p.m. – 6:45 p.m.

May 29, 2024

Yoga Flow
North Ave. Beach, Outdoors, 1603 N. Lake Shore Dr.
Hosted in Partnership with Zen Yoga Garage
6:00 a.m. – 6:45 p.m. 

Boot Camp
North Ave. Beach, Outdoors, 1603 N. Lake Shore Dr.
7:00 a.m. – 7:45 a.m.

Boot Camp
Ping Tom Park Roof Top, Outdoors, 1700 S. Wentworth Ave.
12:00 p.m. – 12:45 p.m.

South Shore Cultural Center Solarium, Indoors, 7059 S. South Shore Dr.
7:00 p.m. – 7:45 p.m.

May In Motion: Free Fitness Week & Outdoor Fitness Courses

Stay in motion no matter the weather with Chicago Park District’s 70 fitness centers! All fitness centers will be free to patrons 18 and older from May 28, 2024 to June 2, 2024. For more information, including hours and addresses, click here

Registration is not required to utilize the fitness center during the free week. After Free Fitness Week, Chicagoans 18 and older are invited to purchase a Fitness Center membership; fitness center memberships range from $10.00 to $20.00 monthly, with limited exceptions. Click here to view membership options. 

The Chicago Park District is challenging city employees at fellow sister agencies to join Fitness Centers with an incentive they cannot refuse. City of Chicago employees can benefit from 30% off a Fitness Center Membership of their choosing. Interested participants must register in-person at a Chicago Park District site with a fitness center. An attendant will enroll the patron and apply the discount at the point of purchase on-site. 

In addition to indoor fitness centers, the Chicago Park District has more than 20 outdoor fitness courses. The structure of fitness courses varies by location and may include parallel bars, rings, raised horizontal ladders, jump boxes, and incline or flat abdominal benches for body weight exercises. These courses can be paired with walking, running or biking on nearby trails to add cross training to your cardiovascular workout or can be used alone for a total body workout. Click here to view a map of Chicago’s outdoor fitness courses.

‘Go Runs

The Chicago Park District partners with The Chicago Area Runners Association (CARA) to bring free, timed community 5k and 1-mile runs called “’Go Runs” to park locations citywide. The series invites community members of any age or ability to run, jog, or walk or roll. Strollers and wheelchairs are welcome. Thanks to our partnership with CARA, racing bibs are provided to help track runners progress across each Saturday the event takes place. This annual series began in March and will run through November 16, 2024. For registration instructions and 2024 schedule for ‘Go Runs, click here. Look below at the four community parks that host ‘Go Runs in May: 

  • Saturday, May 4 at Humboldt Park (1440 N. Humboldt Blvd.)
  • Saturday, May 11 at Big Marsh Park (11555 S. Stony Island Dr.)
  • Saturday, May 18 at Horner Park (2741 W. Montrose Ave.)
  • Saturday, May 25 at Garfield Park (Woodward & Music Ct.)

Wellness Programs

The Chicago Park District offers wellness programs to keep people of all ages in motion this spring. Courses include First Responder Yoga, Veterans Yoga, Nutrition courses, Teen Fit Box and more. Spots are available for spring and summer sessions. To see all wellness offerings, visit this page

Nutrition in the Parks

Based on data from the National Recreation and Park Association, we know that 1 in 5 children arrive to the parks hungry. Therefore, the Chicago Park District is grateful to be the benefactor of the Child and Adult Food Care Program (CACFC), which is a national initiative designed by the Academy of the Dietetics. The CACFC allows Park Kids participants at 15 park locations to receive a meal after school, totaling approximately 300 meals daily. 

In addition, Recreation Leaders who supervise the Park Kids After School Program receive nutrition-oriented training to share with program participants.

This Summer, in accordance with the Illinois State Board of Education’s Summer Food Service Program and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) federal regulations, the Chicago Park District will participate in the Summer Food Service Program in conjunction with summer day camp.  Lunches and/or snacks will be provided for enrolled children at most camps. 

Virtual Catalogue of Classes 

In addition to in-person programs, the Chicago Park District’s YouTube Page features pre-recorded, on-demand instruction that is easily completed outdoors at a park, in the comfort of your home, or at Chicago Park District fitness centers. Video tutorials include activities such as kickboxing, dance, yoga, circuit training and much more. Click here to view all on-demand fitness and wellness courses.