Park Perspectives: Seven ways to avoid holiday weight gain

Published: Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT
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(Photo provided)
Ice skating can help people young and old burn calories. The Geneva Park District offers skating – conditions permitting – at Wheeler Park, 822 N. 1st St., Geneva.

Just one week until Christmas, and my pants are already feeling tighter. Sugar cookies, hot toddies, Graham’s chocolates and Coca-Cola in glass bottles are just a few of my favorite things – and in abundant supply this time of year. Should I be watching all those extra calories? Bah, humbug! Christmas without these necessary indulgences wouldn’t be Christmas at all.

So, I say, don’t be a Grinch – dig in! The Geneva Park District offers plenty of opportunities to get active and burn off that extra eggnog in the coming weeks.

• Ice skating – weather permitting, ice skating is available a Wheeler Park. According to the Mayo Clinic, skating at a moderate pace can burn more than 500 calories per hour. Bundle up, grab your skates and create lasting winter memories on the ice with family or friends. 

• Work it out over winter break – before 2014 group fitness classes begin, the Stephen D. Persinger Recreation Center will offer winter break fitness classes, Dec. 23 through Jan. 4. Instructors will lead motivating, hour-long morning workouts, such as TurboKick, Zumba and Spin Intervals for just $5 each ($7 for nonresidents).

• Hike in the snow – Peck Farm Park’s rolling prairie is absolutely gorgeous after a snowfall. Get active around the well-maintained paved paths. Or if you’re feeling adventurous, try snowshoeing or cross-country skiing on the scenic trails. You never know what wildlife you will discover.

• Amp it up – not seeing results? Consider personal training as a way to amp up your routine in the new year. “Whether you’re just getting started or looking to improve performance, trainers can determine realistic health and wellness goals to design a safe, effective and motivational program just for you,” said Sue Underhill, a certified personal trainer at the Geneva Park District. Affordable personal and small-group training sessions are available at the Stephen D. Persinger Recreation Center and the Sunset Racquetball and Fitness Center year-round.

• Get social – instead of watching movies or baking more cookies, consider heading to the gym together as a family bonding experience. Adding a social aspect can make exercise fun, and provide you with new moves, tips and motivation. Challenge a buddy to a push-up competition or a race. House guests and college students home for the holidays can purchase special passes to both park district fitness facilities.

• Invite the kids – no more excuses! Kids can play in the Stephen D. Persinger Recreation Center Kidz Korral or Sunset’s nursery while you hit the gym. Affordable and convenient hours make it easy to balance family life and fitness. 

• Super Shuffle it – 5K races keep you accountable for your fitness goals. Registration is now open for the sixth annual Super Shuffle 5K around snowy Peck Farm Park. Burn calories prior to the big game and enjoy a family-friendly, post-race celebration at the Stephen D. Persinger Recreation Center with big screen TVs, football tosses, cotton candy, food and a complimentary beverage for all runners. 

For more information about all the ways the Geneva Park District can help you stay active this holiday season and into the new year, visit www.genevaparks.org or call 630-232-4542.

• Natalie Seidel is the marketing coordinator for the Geneva Park District and can be reached at 630-232-4542. Email her at editorial@kcchronicle.com.

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