KOSCIUSKO COUNTY — As the weather begins to turn warmer, one way to get and stay motivated to get moving is the Syracuse-Wawasee Trails’ Couch to 5K program.
This is the third year for the program. “It requires little to no experience running,” Megan McClellan, Trails executive director, mentioned. “Or it’s for those who used to run and want to get back into it.”
After seeing one advertised in North Webster, she wanted to try one of her own. “I thought it was a cool idea so I found a coach and brought it to the trails,” McClellan commented.
It’s not too late for those who want to participate. The group meets at 5 p.m. every Wednesday at the Syracuse Community Center through July 4. Each class begins and ends with stretching followed by helpful information on topics such as nutrition, eating habits and even the proper footwear. Then the group goes on a 20-minute walk or run around Syracuse Lake. Those interested can simply attend the next meeting or contact McClellan at (574) 675-6433. Participants who attend six out of the nine classes are then granted free entry into the Wawasee Flotilla Road Race July 4.
As part of the training, each person is expected to walk or run twice a week on their own along with the group run and are encouraged to use the Couch to 5K phone app to assist them. As the training progresses McClellan hopes to be able to mix up locations, such as the trails at the high school or the Wawasee Area Conservancy Foundation.
This program provides not only information and camaraderie, but also inspiration. “If people pay a fee and are expected to be at a class, then people are more likely to stick with it,” McClellan observed. Even for those who end up not competing in the 5K, it still encourages them to get out and move. “You’re still doing more than you would have otherwise,” she remarked.
During the winter months, Syracuse-Wawasee Trails holds its own 5K. They also team up with the library at 9 a.m. Thursdays for a short walk along the trails and then back to the library for chair yoga.
Kosciusko County YMCA also presents a variety of programs to keep people moving. From January to February, they offer a Couch Potato Triathlon. Participants are given six weeks to complete an Iron Man Triathlon which includes swimming 85 lengths in the pool, biking 112 miles and running a marathon, or 26.2 miles.
Girls on the Go is a newer program offered by the YMCA for girls 10 to 14 years old. The class teaches girls how to train for a 5K during the course of seven weeks with class one hour a week. “Each week we have a different goal and each week it kind of progresses,” Faith Long, YMCA wellness coordinator explained. This group, who will complete their training at the end of May, will be running in the Northern Indiana Lakes Festival Beat the Sun 5K Saturday, May 25.
One of the goals of this program is “just combating the youth obesity rate and expand the youth groups,” Long continued. This program will also be part of the summer youth programming. From June 3 to July 14, girls are able to enroll in the class and a different 5K will be chosen to compete in following the completion of the program. Lessons on healthy eating and a positive body image are also included. During each class the girls will hear from various guest speakers on nutrition, self-discipline and overall wellbeing. Long stated, “We want to encourage them and target positive ways to help.”
The YMCA’s version of “The Amazing Race” was a brand new program for adults to compete in a health and fitness version of the famous show. By including fitness equipment and group exercises, Long enjoys it has “got members to try out a new workout and get people out of their comfort zones.” Seven challenges were handed out, all with increasing difficulty, as well as various road blocks, U-turns and yields to make it more challenging. Modifications were available and it will return again.
Another challenge offered by the YMCA is the Spring toward Summer challenge. This is less demanding and motivates participants to exercise a total of 210 minutes in seven weeks. This equals out to approximately 35 minutes of exercise a day.
When the weather gets colder and there are holidays with plenty of food, it is easy to remain on the couch. These programs promote becoming more active.
The challenges differ in each of the programs, but they all give the individual a goal to work toward and the help and encouragement to complete it.