Horoscope time: No matter your sign, 2019 will be filled with fitness and fun — should you step up to the challenge!
“Exercising more” in the new year is the most popular resolution, with 13 percent of people vowing to do so, according to the NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist Poll . (High five to being healthy!) But, one statistic that’s not exactly cheering us on? Only about one out of five people follow through with their New Year’s resolutions. Womp, womp…
So, how do we get over that hurdle and stick to an exercise regimen? One science-backed way is to have fun with your workout. Well-intentioned exercisers select programs designed to whip them into shape, but end up ditching the workout routines because, well, they’re boring, according to researchers from the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business. The study, which was published in the “Journal of Personality and Social Psychology,” discovered that “when people look forward to or back on an activity, they tend to underestimate how important it is to actually enjoy doing it” if they want to build good habits.
Harnessing that tidbit about the human psyche, we’ve come up with some exciting workouts that you can try in Chicago this year. To have even more fun with this, we’re breaking them down by zodiac sign to identify the workout best suited to your astrological personality. But, by all means, write your own horoscope and sample whatever class stands out to you because all 12 workouts are good ones.
Aquarius (Jan. 20 to Feb. 18)
Who better than Aquarius, the oh-so imaginative air sign, to give an aerial workout regimen a try? AIR is an aerial fitness training program that’s designed to strengthen your core. You get to strike yoga poses with the assist of aerial hammocks, which certainly dials up the fun factor of your workout while also helping you increase flexibility. AIR has Chicago-area studios in River North, Lincoln Park, and South Loop. One class that especially stands out? A candlelit flow class.
Pisces (Feb. 19 to March 20)
OK, so there’s a small group of brave souls who hit Lake Michigan for some winter surfing, but for most of us, it’s far too cold to go actual surfing. But thankfully, Pisces is adaptive. The water sign should feel at peace in a surf-inspired fitness class at Hang 5 Fitness. These surf classes will get you toned up and ready to take an actual surf vacation. The classes warm up with lunges, leg kicks, and push-ups. Then, an instructor will teach you the fundamentals of surfing, including how to pop on the board. Once you’ve mastered the moves, you’ll get to hop on a board for a 15-minute surf experience with waves of the ocean on the screen in front of you. Rad, right?
Aries (March 21 to April 19)
Some group-fitness workouts (we’re looking at you, SoulCycle and Barry’s Bootcamp) have a knack for garnering devoted fans. Now, Runaway, a run-based group fitness class in Chicago, is looking to do the same with the running crowd. Aries, we know you’re quick and competitive, so this could be exactly the kind of challenge you need. Before opening, Runaway founders Kristine and Ted Theodore traveled the country to study group fitness classes. When they returned to Chicago, they opened up the 4,000-square-foot Runaway space with customized Woodway treadmills and mood lighting that changes throughout the workout. Upbeat music playlists vary and there are refrigerators with cold towels to cool off post-workout. The gym offers varying courses that incorporate running and weight training.
Taurus (April 20 to May 20)
Taurus, we nominate you as the sign most likely to run off and join the circus, and we mean that as a compliment. You’re strong (and those stunts require a lot of strength) and you’re creative. We found a compromise: Aloft Circus Arts. The contemporary circus arts school has some serious athletes in its programs. But, there are some beginner classes that will train you on silks, trapezes, ropes, and you can even learn how to perfect your handstands. We double dare you to invest in some ballet shoes and try the “beginning tightwire” class!
Gemini (May 21 to June 20)
Who knows which one of the twins is showing up to work out? That’s why we’re recommending dance classes for dual-natured and expressive Gemini! Joel Hall Dancers and Center is open seven days a week, offering more than 150 classes, serving all ages and experience levels. Adult classes include ballet, hip-hop, contemporary, jazz, modern, or tap. The top-notch curricula is sure to keep Geminis on their toes.
Cancer (June 21 to July 22)
Sentimental Cancer, we have a throwback workout for you: Jazzercise! We’re not suggesting this in an ironic way, either, so go ahead and erase the image of pastel leotards and leg warmers. Jazzercise, a dance fitness brand, was founded in Chicago and has been around since 1969, spiking in popularity in the 1980s. It’s celebrating its 50th birthday this year. In case it’s been a while since you’ve been to a Jazzercise class, the hour-long workout these days is a mix of hip-hop dance, kickboxing, weight lifting, and pilates set to Top 40 dance music. Jazzercise is hip to HIIT, too, offering an interval class that maximizes fat burn. Classes can torch 800 calories per hour. You can pay per class or nab a membership.
Leo (July 23 to Aug. 22)
Leos are known for being exceptionally fierce, and, if we’re being honest, also tend to love a little drama. Enter: “Superhero Strength Class” at Hifi Fitness, which combines kettlebells, bodyweight exercises, bands, and 80s music. One of the benefits of taking classes is there’s a scheduling requirement, which helps people stay more accountable, says instructor Darin Hulslander, a certified strength and condition coach. The superhero strength and conditioning classes are an hour long and no membership is required. Also, you can expect to get hyped up by Hulslander, who calls participants in his classes “ninjas.” But if there were a superhero he’d most identify with, it’d be Spider-Man. “He’s pretty good when it comes to mobility,” Hulslander says.
Virgo (Aug. 23 to Sept. 22)
Out of all the signs, Virgos are most likely to be perfectionists and they also enjoy companionship. Might we suggest a trip to the outdoor ice rink with a friend? Not only is it a fun way to celebrate winter, but practice makes perfect and we wouldn’t be surprised to see Virgo debuting a few spins after enough laps around the rink. Most Thursday nights between now and March 7 are “theme nights” at Millennium Park. (Think Purple Passion for all Prince music or Mambo Mania for 40s and 50s Latin tunes). Ice skating is great for toning your leg muscles.
Libra (Sept. 23 to Oct. 22)
Gracious Libra, it’s not too late to try your hand at gymnastics. Lakeshore Academy offers adult gymnastics classes! Adult classes start with 30- to 45-minute group warm-ups and basic tumbling. Instructors will help you try out new skills. If you’ve got some gymnastics experience, you can advance to the apparatus and trampolines.
Scorpio (Oct. 23 to Nov. 21)
Scorpio, you’re brave and resourceful, which are just the skills you need to scurry up a rock-climbing wall. To help get you hooked on a new hobby, Brooklyn Boulders Chicago has “intro to climbing” and “learn the ropes” courses. The gym also has intermediate and advanced classes as well as private coaching. But that’s not all! Brooklyn Boulders Chicago finished a four-month renovation recently, adding a weight room and building two new state-of-the-art climbing walls. Other climbing conditioning workouts include Yoga for Climbers and Climber Core.
Sagittarius (Nov. 22 to Dec. 21)
Extroverted, optimistic, and enthusiastic, Sagittarius, you are quite the fun sign. Play hooky from the gym for a day and bounce around at a trampoline gym. (Go ahead, schedule a jump time with your little ones at Sky High Sports; they’ll love it, too). Jumping on a trampoline counts as exercise if you ask us. It’s low impact and you could torch about 130 calories while jumping for 30 minutes.
Capricorn (Dec. 22 to Jan. 19)
Capricorns, your superpower is discipline. Watch your skills advance in a boxing class. TITLE Boxing Club has Chicago clubs in Lincoln Park and Wicker Park. The high-intensity workout helps you get in shape and makes you feel strong, says Julia Lytle, marketing manager for TITLE Boxing Club. Classes focus on HIIT-style rounds of boxing. First classes are free.
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Brittany Anas is a freelance writer who specializes in health, fitness, and travel writing. She also contributes to Men’s Journal, Women’s Health, Trip Savvy, Simplemost, Orbitz, and Eat This, Not That! She spent a decade working at daily newspapers, including The Denver Post and the Daily Camera in Boulder, Colorado, and she is a former federal background investigator. In her free time, Brittany enjoys hiking with her gremlin-pot belly pig mix that the rescue described as a “Boston Terrier” and coaching youth basketball. She also works with domestic abuse survivors, helping them regain financial stability through career coaching. Follower her on Twitter and Instagram.