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VIDEO: Lake Katherine Is a Great Place to Get Fit

Jordan visits the Palos Heights nature center to learn why outdoor activities are an excellent option for exercise.

Summer is a fantastic time to take advantage of great weather and get active outside. While training for my half marathons, I would often hop on a treadmill at the gym and stare at a television for an hour as I got my training miles in. It was convenient, comfortable and cozy.

But when I strapped on my shoes and ran the trails at , my senses went into overdrive. After a while, it got much easier to take my training runs outside where the scenery changed and I could see lots of wildlife rather than a gym full of lingering body odor and grunting muscleheads.

This week I went to Lake Katherine to find out even more about why outdoor activities can be so beneficial. , who is the operations manager of the nature preserve, is also a runner and triathlete. He informed me that being outside naturally raises one's spirits and relieves stress.

Seeing green trees and water can really ease the burden of a bad day at work or a loud household, which is why I'm going to start heading over to Lake Katherine after a long day at work.

Not only does Lake Katherine have a mile-long loop around a beautiful lake, through October for a really great price. And when the temperatures get too cold to run in shorts and a T-shirt, you can rent snowshoes to trek around the lake.

Venture a little farther north on Route 83 and you'll also run into the —another great place to get outside and get in a great workout. The  also offer a terrific option for walkers, runners and bikers.

As far as my progress, the stress and anxiety of has been increasing as the day approaches. Unfortunately for me, I turn to food when I feel overwhelmed and stressed, so I've put a few pounds back on this past week. It also doesn't help that high levels of stress physiologically aid in gaining weight ...

It's only a week until my wedding! Ahh! While it's not looking like I'll meet my weight loss goal before I tie the knot, I'm definitely not planning on throwing in the towel.

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