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Columns

Park District Dish: Don’t 'fall' into bad habits this autumn

“I have always found that exercise is the fountain of youth," said Kathy Freedlund, fitness supervisor for the Batavia Park District. "If you want to feel good and have energy, you have to get your body moving."
“I have always found that exercise is the fountain of youth," said Kathy Freedlund, fitness supervisor for the Batavia Park District. "If you want to feel good and have energy, you have to get your body moving."

As the weather begins to cool down and the holidays are just around the corner, it’s easy to choose to cozy up indoors with a book or movie and opt out of your regular fitness routine.

The activities we are accustomed to doing in the summer months cease, and as the temperature drops, most people tend to reach for comfort foods. It takes only 3,500 extra calories to gain a pound, and one must burn 3,500 calories to lose a pound.

From candy at Halloween to rich foods at Thanksgiving and Christmas, there are plenty of opportunities to overeat or consume foods high in fat and sugar in the coming months.

Recent studies indicated that nearly one-third of Americans are clinically obese, and this number has nearly doubled since 1980. As sedentary lifestyles increase, nearly 11 percent of all deaths in the U.S. are attributed to inactivity.

Issues such as the childhood obesity epidemic, aging populations and chronic diseases are becoming increasingly common challenges for our society. The Batavia Park District remains a low-cost option in meeting those health and wellness-related issues.

The park district’s fitness supervisor, Kathy Freedlund, who has 31 years of fitness experience, is a local expert when it comes to making healthy choices and encouraging folks who don’t exercise to get started.

“I have always found that exercise is the fountain of youth,” she said. “If you want to feel good and have energy, you have to get your body moving. Start small. Walk three times a day for 10 minutes each time. Find a friend to keep you accountable. Once you get started you won’t regret working out.”

The Batavia Park District manages 400 acres of green space across 40 park sites, including 17 miles of trails. As the leaves change colors and display all of the beauty of the season, a long walk outdoors can be very beneficial and best of all, it’s free!

Health studies show that contact with nature – plants, animals, landscapes and wilderness – offers a range of medical benefits, including lower blood and cholesterol levels, quicker recovery from surgery and lower self-reported stress.

The park district also offers many fitness and wellness programs that appeal to all ages and body types, as well as a variety of time slots to fit nearly any schedule.

“Batavia Park District is a nice place to work out,” Freedlund said. “We offer a variety of exercise classes suitable for many fitness levels. Our seasoned fitness instructors really care about the patrons. Every instructor offers modifications to allow all fitness levels to participate. Plus, if you miss a class, we allow makeup classes within the same session. That’s how important your workout is to us!”

While Mother Nature and holiday foods may create health challenges, those can be offset by adding new healthy activities into your life.

To learn more about park district amenities, health and fitness programs, visit bataviaparks.org.  

Katie Drum is the director of marketing and public relations for the Batavia Park District. The “Park District Dish” column runs the second Thursday of each month in the Kane County Chronicle. Contact Drum at editorial@kcchronicle.com.

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