New Year, new you

Written by Matt Pera. Posted in Health & Wellness

Published on January 11, 2012 with No Comments

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.

At Porter County Parks and Recreation, we have put together several outstanding programs that begin this month 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,” Sara Grassmeyer, Wellness Coordinator for Porter County Parks and Recreation, said. “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 on 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 every Saturday from Jan. 14 to Feb. 25 from 8 to 9 a.m. 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 e-mail check-ins that feature workout tips.

We offered this program last year for the first time, and it was a huge success. Participants finished a 5K for the first time in their lives, and many stuck with it and ran yet another race just a few months later. 

For runners who are more experienced, or are interested in running with a group, Porter County Parks and Recreation offers a free Run Club every Tuesday and Thursday from 8 to 9 a.m. 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 also available at Sunset Hill Farm. This class costs $5 and takes place every Saturday from 8 to 9 a.m. 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 every Saturday, from Jan. 14 to Feb. 25, from 9 to 10 a.m., at the Sunset Hill Farm Interpretive Center (located next to the playground). This class is designed to improve strength, fitness and balance, combining traditional exercises with inventive strategies.

Grassmeyer said that people will be encouraged to mix and match the fitness programs that are available 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.” 

So what are you waiting for? Come out and try these programs. There truly is something for everyone, and you will learn techniques and tips that you can take with you to develop your own routine at home.


To register for any of these upcoming fitness programs, or for more information, contact Sara Grassmeyer at 219-707-8281 or

Grassmeyer also offers a wellness blog every Friday at with helpful tips and information about personal fitness.


About Porter County Parks and Recreation

The mission of the Porter County Parks and Recreation Board and Department is to preserve, protect and manage the natural, cultural and recreational resources within a diverse park system. We are committed to delivering youth, adult and school programs to the residents of Porter County, while also providing a gateway into the natural beauty of our area through its unique parks and trails. For more information, call 219-465-3586, or e-mail Porter County Parks and Recreation is also on Facebook at and Twitter @pcparksnrec.

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About Matt Pera

All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Chronicle. Matt Pera is the communications director for Porter County Parks and Recreation. He has a background in journalism and public relations. For more information about Porter County Parks and Recreation, call 219-465-3586, or e-mail

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