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Switch it Up this Spring

It’s official.  We had our first couple days of almost spring weather in Chicago!  And, with such beautiful weather comes the onslaught of runners and bikers who have been stuck inside for the past four months. Such enthusiastic athletes can make just about anyone want to shake up their fitness routine. So, here are some suggestions of ways to get moving for the rest of the semester.

Halas Fitness Classes

Many of you may be getting tired of competing for a treadmill at Halas. So, why not try out some of Halas’ fitness classes. Nervous about being the ‘new girl’ in class?  Senior Abby Strong, a Halas fitness instructor, says, “I love having new people in my class because it’s an opportunity to get someone excited about being fit.  The only thing better than that is seeing that person in class next week.” So, why not give it a shot?  If you’re looking for something a little more intense try HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training), Insanity, or Spinning.  If you’re more into strength training, Guns, Buns, and Abs or All Abs are two great options.  If you want to relax, check out the Yoga and Pilates offerings.  See a full schedule of classes here.

Halas Rock Wall

I am alway surprised to see so few students using the rock wall.  It’s a great new addition to campus that we should all be taking advantage of.  Where else are you going to be able to rock climb for free in the middle of the city?  And you can even wave to all of your friends in Damen when you make it to the top! The rock wall staff provides you with all the necessary equipment and they’ll even provide you with a little introductory lesson before you “belay on”.  Next time you’re in Halas stop by and try it out.  Here are the hours.

Lakefront Trail

The most obvious choice for spring fitness is Chicago’s 18 mile Lakefront Trail.  For those who aren’t familiar with the trail, Loyola’s Lake Shore Campus is about a mile from the start of the path.  Just head south on Sheridan Road, take a left on Ardmore, and you will run (or walk or bike) right onto the trail.  It is a great option for anyone who loves walking, running, rollerblading, or biking. How can you not be motivated to go that extra mile when there are such beautiful views of the lake and skyline to keep you company?

North on Sheridan

For some seasoned runners the Lakefront Trail may be getting a little old. Junior Danielle Orihuela has a cure for this route boredom: “Every now and then I prefer to run north because the route through Evanston is also so pretty, especially now that we are getting closer to spring.   It’s a much calmer route because it is in a suburb-like area.  I don’t have to deal with as much hustle and bustle as I do when I run south on Sheridan.”  Take Danielle’s advice and switch up your running routine by heading north on Sheridan.  At first you will be running past apartment buildings and homes, but then you will turn a corner and find yourself right next to Lake Michigan.  Next, you’re in Evanston, running past many gorgeous old homes.  

Warning: This route is not as conducive to biking as the Lakefront Trail.

ChainLinks

Speaking of biking, sometimes it’s hard for students to make room for their own bikes on campus.  No worries.  Stop by Loyola’s student-run bike rental company, ChainLinks. ChainLinks offers many different bike rental options.  You’re welcome to rent a bike for the day, the week, the month, or the whole semester.  Renting a bike for one day will cost you either $10 or $15, depending on the bike you rent.  The employees at ChainLinks will also be able to point you in the direction of some great rides. Click here to learn more about ChainLinks.

Chicago Races

Whether you sign up for a 5K, 10K, Half Marathon, or Marathon, races are a great way to motivate yourself to start running.  Moreover, running through the streets of Chicago gives you a whole new perspective of the city.  When senior Mary Mankarious ran a Chicago half marathon she was excited that the race course took her to all the “hot spots” of the city, so she was able to “get to know [her] city better.” Mary also liked that “a lot of the runners [weren’t] from Chicago and they [got] really excited about it.”  She says running a race in Chicago “makes you love your city.” If you want to fall in love with Chicago all over again there are many race options for this spring. To celebrate St. Patrick’s Day you could run the 8K Shamrock Shuffle on March 30.  Or, enjoy Chicago at night with the 5K Glo Run on May 3.  Search for even more race options here.

Starved Rock and Matthiessen State Parks

If you’re feeling up for a short road trip and have access to a car, Starved Rock and Matthiessen State Parks are about a two hour drive from Chicago.  The State Parks are about a ten minute drive from each other and each offer hiking trails and picnic areas.  Starved Rock has more established trails and path for visitors, while Matthiessen has some areas where you are able to forge your own trail.  Whichever one you choose, these parks are perfect places to enjoy some nature and activity outside of the city.

Now that you have some fresh ideas for getting active this spring, grab a friend and try one out!

(Photo Credits: http://rulesforrunning.com/2011/08/24/rave-run-chicagos-lakefront-trail/, http://www.stateparks.com/matthiessen.html)

Katie Walther is a senior at Loyola University Chicago. She is majoring in English and Secondary Education. When she is not teaching she loves to catch up on reading and explore the nooks and crannies of Chicago. She is excited to be a part of Her Campus LUC!
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