PORTER COUNTY | Every January, people use the new year as a time to make resolutions. And, more often than not, those resolutions have to do with exercising more, eating healthier and dropping a few pounds.
Porter County Parks and Recreation has put together several programs that begin in January and are aimed at helping people accomplish the fitness goals they set for 2012.
"A new year provides much-needed motivation to be better people, exercise more often and eat more nutritiously," said Sara Grassmeyer, wellness coordinator for the Porter County Parks and Recreation Department. "The new year marks new beginnings, and what better way to celebrate than to start with a fresh workout routine?"
The Couch to Foot Pursuit program begins Jan. 14 and will help new runners prepare for their first 5K race March 3. They will receive training routines catered specifically to their fitness levels, and learn to train successfully without injury.
This program will take place from 8 to 9 a.m. Saturdays from Jan. 14 to Feb. 25 at Sunset Hill Farm County Park, 775 Meridian Road in Valparaiso. The fee is $50, which covers the race registration, a detailed weekly training schedule, guidance from a certified group fitness instructor, and weekly email check-ins that feature workout tips.
For runners who are more experienced, or are interested in running with a group, Porter County Parks and Recreation offers a free Run Club from 8 to 9 a.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays year-round. These group fun runs cover the many trails at Sunset Hill Farm, going five miles or longer.
"Every one of our fitness programs in January is offered to participants of all levels," Grassmeyer said. "All instructors will start simple and include progressive instruction for participants interested in taking their fitness to the next level. There will be modifications offered throughout every class to ensure all participants are successful and building confidence to continue their learned skills throughout the new year."
For those who want to try an alternative to running, a Snowshoeing Class is available at Sunset Hill Farm. This class costs $5 and takes place from 8 to 9 a.m. Saturdays through March, depending on the weather. Equipment is provided, and participants get a chance to explore the trails at the park while burning up to 45 percent more calories than running.
Porter County Parks and Recreation will also offer a free Indoor Weights class from 9 to 10 a.m. Saturdays from Jan. 14 to Feb. 25 at the Sunset Hill Farm Interpretive Center, next to the playground. This class is designed to improve strength, fitness and balance, combining traditional exercises with inventive strategies.
Grassmeyer said people will be encouraged to mix and match the fitness programs to create their own specially designed fitness routine.
"I hope that participants choose classes that work with their schedules and goals while supplementing their current fitness regimen," Grassmeyer said. "Hopefully participants find new activities that enable them to try new things to further encourage a healthy lifestyle."
To register for any of these upcoming fitness programs, or for more information, contact Sara Grassmeyer at (219) 707-8281 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Grassmeyer also offers a wellness blog every Friday at http://pcparksandrec.blogspot.com with helpful tips and information about personal fitness.