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Fun ways to work out in the winter

Working out in the winter can be rough—ditch the gym this winter and have some fun while you're at it

Photograph: Courtesy Brooklyn Boulders
By Matt de la Peña |

Just when your abs show signs of life, winter comes along and ruins everything. It's tough to work out in the winter; only so many Chicagoans have the ferocity to bike and run outdoors, and even Chicago's best gyms get really old really quickly. But before you abandon your fitness routine for three months of Netflix marathons, consider these workout alternatives to keep you in peak beach-season condition—while having a blast.

RECOMMENDED: Find more things to do in Chicago this winter

The best winter workouts in Chicago

Photograph: Courtesy Sky High Sports
Things to do, Games and hobbies

Sky High Sports

icon-location-pin Suburbs

A building that’s completely filled with trampolines? Yes, we’re in! This Naperville facility stakes its reputation on high-flying escapades. AIRobics might top them all; the 50-minute workout burns up to 1,000 calories per session. Bonus: The low-impact bounce goes easy on the joints.

Brooklyn Boulders Chicago
Photograph courtesy of Brooklyn Boulders
Sports and fitness, Climbing

Learn the ropes at Brooklyn Boulders

icon-location-pin West Loop

This West Loop locale combines start-up savvy with an emphasis on work-life balance. More than 25,000 square feet of climbing surfaces, bouldering walls and designated areas for things like yoga separates this climbing community from others. The gym’s most popular class happens on a weekly basis and allows beginners to work on the basics—from tying knots to belay training. A two-hour session is all you need to learn the ropes. 

Photograph: Giselle Garcia

Aerial Silks at Aloft Loft

icon-location-pin United Center

In April, Aloft Loft owner Shayna Swanson turned a 109-year-old church in Logan Square into 6,000 square feet of studio space, all dedicated to the circus arts. With 16 adjustable height-rigging points and a spring floor, among other goodies, you’ll find opportunities to expand your horizons with Cirque du Soleil–style acrobatics, perhaps none so elegant and sweat-inducing as aerial silks. In this class, you’ll use your upper and lower body to suspend in the air, swinging in beautifully coordinated patterns. As far as winter workouts go, it’s beauty meets beast. 

Photograph: Courtesy Chicago Park District
Things to do

Snow trekking at Northerly Island

icon-location-pin Downtown

Local weather experts predict a lot of snow this winter, which bodes well if you’re a regular at Northerly Island. For just five bucks, you can rent snowshoes for two hours, allowing you to enjoy more than your share of the 91-acre peninsula. Bask in nature’s snow-dusted glory, and cap off your expedition with a raucous snowball fight for good measure.