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Planks, weight lifting, yoga, Zumba and yard games – Evanston residents are getting fit outside with help from local businesses.
Over the summer months, Evanstonians can enjoy free outdoor fitness classes sponsored by Downtown Evanston, Central Street Evanston and the McGaw YMCA. Wellness Wednesdays, Get Fit Fridays, and the weekly YMCA group fitness classes all encourage residents to get outside and move their bodies.
Attendees met at Fountain Square Friday morning for Get Fit Fridays with Urban Athlete for a combination of cardio drills and strength circuits.
Ellie Peterson, a rising sophomore at Northwestern University, said this was her first time attending an outdoor fitness class hosted by the City.
“I haven’t really been doing much; this is a good way to get back into exercise in the summer,” she said. “I need the motivation of a class.”
Laura Brown, marketing and events manager of Downtown Evanston, plans the summer outdoor fitness classes. She reaches out to fitness studios to gauge interest and then organizes and promotes the events.
This is the third year the City has offered summer outdoor fitness classes. Last summer, classes were canceled due to COVID-19 and because of competition from many studios offering their own membership-based classes.
“It’s great to see people come out and try something new while promoting being healthy and getting people outside, especially after the pandemic,” Ms. Brown said.
Alyson Mann, health and fitness manager at the McGaw YMCA, taught the Friday group fitness class at Burnham Shores Park.
Each class has a different theme, with Zumba and yoga being the most popular. Ms. Mann said it is a very non-competitive space with a wide range of fitness levels.
“We try to make the classes something that everybody feels comfortable with,” she said.
At the end of the summer, the YMCA will be offering a new group exercise class – HIGH Fitness. The class can be low or high impact and is similar to Zumba but less choreographed.
Each YMCA class is offered on Fridays with alternating times to best accommodate a variety of Evanston residents. To sign up for YMCA classes, click here. For Get Fit Friday classes, here and Wellness Wednesday, here.