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Through aging, genetics and pregnancy, the body can begin to put on excess weight. Added pounds can harm your health and well-being over time and may affect your body image and self-confidence. Don’t let the number on the scale keep you from feeling confident; do something about it!

Even for men and women who have a daily exercise routine, there is a tendency for self-discipline to deteriorate over time. Once an exercise routine truly becomes routine, it becomes boring. One good solution is to add to the mix with some new activities.

Summer is the perfect time to recharge your healthy lifestyle and take it outdoors. There truly is no better medicine for your body than some fresh air and sunshine. Add exercise and balanced meals to that mix and your body will thank you immensely. There are many fun workouts you can enjoy outdoors this summer, including:

Jogging/Running

One of the most beneficial ways to get your heart rate up quickly is by running or jogging. One of the benefits of running is that you can do so at your own pace, so pretty much anyone can partake in this exercise. Put on your favorite shorts, lace up your sneakers and get moving.

If you’re looking to build up your stamina, you may consider an endurance technique while running. Running high mileage will allow you to test your stamina. Or you may wish to include some interval training in your runs by adding in short, fast bursts of sprints followed by light walking. No matter which technique you choose, you’re going to burn some serious calories.

But running isn’t just good for your physique. A growing number of studies have shown that aerobic exercise can help to prevent obesity, diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and even some cancers.

In the Chicago area we are blessed with a number or good running trail options. If you are in the city, the lakefront path is an excellent choice, particularly in the early morning hours when it isn’t too crowded. The 606 elevated path is another good option. In the northern suburbs, the Green Bay Trail runs for 9 miles from the suburbs of Wilmette to Highland Park. The Prairie Path Trail runs for 61 miles from the western suburbs to Elgin. For city dwellers, both the Green Bay Trail and the Prairie Path Trail can be accessed from the Metra lines, so a car is not necessary. In fact, why don’t you plan a day where you take Metra to one of these trails, then walk or jog along the path and have lunch at one of the many restaurants near the trail? You will experience an active mini vacation.

Hiking

A favorite among nature enthusiasts, hiking is a powerful cardio activity that is best enjoyed during the warmer months. For those searching for a way to incorporate both fresh air and exercise into your life, hiking is perfect solution. Whether done solo or with some friends, this moderate-intensity exercise allows you to hit up nearby parks and trails and get your heart pumping quickly.

The great thing about this activity is that it allows you to enjoy hiking trails of every length and intensity. You can even make a day trip out of it by packing snacks and water and planning for rest breaks. With just a pair of good hiking boots, you can start to strengthen muscles you may not regularly work.

There are good hiking options near Chicago, but the options are relatively flat. One great thing about our city is that it is easy to fly almost anywhere, due to the fact that we are a major transportation hub. Consider an active summer vacation that involves hiking in the mountains. One of Dr. John Q. Cook’s favorites is Glacier National Park in Montana. You can stay in one of the historic lodges in the park or in nearby towns and enjoy a limitless range of hiking options. The connection you feel with nature will have significant health benefits. Hiking is a great family activity, because of the uninterrupted time you will have to enjoy each other’s company without the numerous distractions of urban existence.

Kayaking

It just wouldn’t be summer if you didn’t enjoy the waterways. Kayaking is a great low-impact exercise that improves your aerobic fitness, strength, and flexibility. Get a rack and put this vessel on top of your car, because you can truly make destination trips out of this fun activity.

You can leisurely paddle on rivers, lakes and oceans—allowing you to enjoy all of the warm-weather beauty this season has to offer. While kayaking is a great way to work your arm muscles and get your blood pumping, it’s good for more than just your physical health. Many people find this activity to be peaceful and meditative—which is great for boosting your mental state.

Chicago offers a growing number of kayaking options. There are several choices for renting kayaks along the Chicago River. In the northern suburbs, Chicago River Canoe and Kayak offers rentals that access the Skokie Lagoons. You will feel like you are in northern Wisconsin without taking a 7-hour drive.

Bicycling

People of all ages can enjoy this exercise, making bicycling a great family activity. Bike riding is a great choice for those looking to enjoy a less stressful exercise than running. A recent study actually found that patients with knee pain actually improved their condition by cycling.

You don’t have to ride thousands of miles to reap the benefits of bike riding, though. This aerobic exercise can be enjoyed as a leisurely ride or strenuous workout. Regardless of how fast you ride, this workout will strengthen your thighs, hips and rear-end by climbing hills and arms and upper body by standing to pedal.

Chicago has a growing number of bicycling options. In 2016 Bicycling magazine ranked Chicago as the best cycling city in the United States. A simple internet search will connect you to a wide range of bicycling options that are available in the city and the suburbs. Remember that many of the suburban options can be reached via Metra, and most trains are now equipped so that people can bring their bikes on board.

Enhance Your Appearance

While an active lifestyle and nutritious diet are the keys to staying trim, sometimes they aren’t enough to rid your body of stubborn body fat. At the Whole Beauty® Institute, we offer patients an array of nonsurgical procedures to eliminate unwanted fatty tissues. One of our most popular, though, is SculpSure®.

SculpSure® is a great way to slim down quick this summer, as the treatment takes less than 30 minutes to complete. For those of our patients who are already in pretty good shape, but want to target small zones of excess fat, SculpSure® is a great option. You are free to return to work and other everyday activities immediately following treatment, so you can get back to enjoying outdoor activities the same day.

SculpSure® Patient Results from the Whole Beauty® Institute

Our team, led by Dr. John Q. Cook, also has extensive experience with laser liposuction techniques such as SmartLipo® and SlimLipo®. These treatments can be done under local anesthesia in our Chicago and Winnetka offices. We have found that these techniques allow for a quicker return to activity than other techniques of liposuction, so this makes liposuction a possibility for all seasons.

Results of Laser Liposuction by Dr. John Q. Cook, M.D.

If you have been searching for a way to boost your appearance this summer, give the Whole Beauty® Institute a call at 312-751-2112. We’d be happy to help you set up an initial consultation with Dr. Cook to get you started on your aesthetic goals.