The Champaign Park District maintains over 700 acres of land in Champaign. With 61 parks & 14 facilities – it seems difficult to imagine one forgetting about the abundant opportunities available. It happens though, or perhaps is overlooked, throughout the daily chaos that life in the 21st century brings. This winter, don’t let the cold weather get you down. Stay active and social with these three ideas from Champaign Park District.
1. Take a Walk (Yeah, we said it)
Illinois winters are tough, but Illinoisans are tougher! Physical activity combined with the great outdoors helps naturally reduce stress. Take advantage of the 61 public parks in Champaign by taking a walk break after a long day in the office or before an important meeting to clear the mind and stir creativity. It is recommended for the average adult to receive 20 minutes of moderate aerobic activity a day. Keep warm with dry-fit clothing, hydrated with a bottle of water, and safe with proper shoes and reflective attire for night walks.
For those more interested in staying indoors – consider starting a walking group and head over to Leonhard Recreation Center’s indoor track! The track is on the second floor, surrounding the gym, where walkers can view anything from competitive volleyball leagues to toddler basketball. Large windows around the track provide a nice view of Centennial Park and plenty of natural light.
Group fitness is another great indoor option. Between yoga, strength training classes, and chair exercises for seniors, opportunity abounds. The benefits of group fitness include increased accountability, guidance from instructors, and social interaction.
Overall, finding unique ways to stay active during slow-moving winter months is beneficial from both a personal and professional standpoint.
2. Enjoy the Healing Power of Cultural Arts
Art is a universal communicator and healer. The Virginia Theatre has a robust performing arts season to keep hearts happy on short, winter days. Experience enlightening live music, youth theatre, movies, and more. Special screenings may be arranged for a group setting – a perfect opportunity to take your office on a fun field trip.
Another great option to feed the soul is to take in the arts at one of Springer Cultural Center’s free exhibits or lunchtime concerts. Bach’s Lunch is a years-long tradition that truly inspires! Held on Fridays, this event encourages patrons to bring their lunch to enjoy a live performance ranging from acoustic rock to classical piano. These one-hour lunch concerts are a great office field trip! Art exhibits run nearly non-stop at Springer Cultural Center, so check the online calendar to see what is coming up.
For those looking to have a hands-on arts experience or to do more team building, the Champaign Park District offers a number of programs to fit the mold. Group pottery workshops (Pots-abilities) can be the perfect way to boost creativity and work on a new skill together. Schedule Pots-abilities a month ahead with Michelle Olden by calling 217-398-2376. Individual classes in pottery, painting, dance, and more are also available for beginners and experienced artists alike.
3. Plan Ahead (What did the wooly worm predict this year?)
Research shows that planning ahead and having something positive to look forward to can help ease the mind through winter boredom. At Champaign Park District, the summer planning starts before the new year. From organizing Streetfest, held in downtown Champaign, to prepping the lazy river at Sholem Aquatic Center, planning for warmer weather helps.
Consider planning a springtime, staff potluck in the park or an organization-wide family day at the pool after Memorial Day. Getting ahead of summer events can be a great reminder of the light at the end of the tunnel. It also brings staff together with something to look forward to.
Another thing to plan ahead – volunteerism! Get together to make a difference as a group, or do so individually. Either way, the help is appreciated for events like Mom Prom, park concerts, and even movies and more at the Virginia Theatre.
Of course, all organizations looking to get ahead of community involvement and sponsorships are welcome to reach out as well. Some of the best ideas are born out of boredom! Perhaps there are new, unique ways to collaborate. Champaign Park District welcomes innovative ideas to serve our community. Planning sooner, rather than later, can make all the difference!
Every individual requires a different combination of activities to find balance. Working the mind, body, and soul will help keep the winter blues at bay. Don’t forget the parks – Champaign Park District, that is – this winter!
Written by Chelsea Norton, Director of Marketing and Communications.
Chelsea also is a volunteer and committee member for a variety of organizations. She has a passion for the Champaign community and loves getting involved with her family – husband, Keith Norton, and son, Elwood.