Keeping fit in the winter months

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Ready, set, fit!: Participants take off on a 5K run/walk through the city of La Porte as part of the Fitness Fridays program run by the city, La Porte County Family YMCA and IU Health La Porte Hospital. | Supplied photo

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IU Health La Porte Hospital, the city of La Porte and La Porte County Family YMCA are continuing to work together to help area residents be fit and stay active through their Fitness Fridays program and its fall/winter alternative.

Beginning last March and continuing until fall, residents joined La Porte Mayor Blair Milo and others in a 5K run, walk or bike ride through the city.

“The idea of Fitness Fridays is to bring the whole family. People pushed strollers, some brought their dogs. It was really neat to see all the families come together every week,” said Katie Sarver, manager of the Wellness Outreach program at IU Health LaPorte Hospital.

Participants gathered at the La Porte County YMCA at 4 p.m. every Friday, weather permitting. From there, they ran or walked along historic, tree-lined Michigan Avenue and passed through the Beechwood Golf Course before returning to the YMCA. The flat terrain made it easy for beginners as well as seasoned runners.

Sarver said the walks were well-attended and generated a lot of positive feedback from participants of all ages.

However, as popular as the program was during the summer, Sarver said once the sun started to set earlier and the temperatures got colder, the three entities decided to wind down to a once-a-month program from October through February, returning to the weekly run-walk-bike again in March. She said there are no programs in December.

Unlike the walks, the winter programs are held at different locations, with each entity having its own, individual program, Sarver said. All programs begin at 5:15 p.m. and last about 45 minutes. Participants are encouraged to arrive early to register. Like the walk, all winter programs are free, she said.

“The only requirement is that you wear gym shoes,” Sarver said.

What’s ahead

Upcoming programs are scheduled for Jan. 18 at the La Porte Civic Auditorium, 1001 Ridge St.; and Feb. 22 at IU Health La Porte Hospital at The Crossing, 1201 Washington St.

Sarver said the one at The Crossing will include the use of fitness equipment.

If you’d like to exercise more than once a month, Sarver said the hospital also offers various programs to members to help improve their health, including Zumba, yoga and chair yoga. Classes are offered Monday through Saturday year-round.

Nutrition sessions on topics like dining out, good versus bad fats and portion control are available at a cost of $5 each. The hospital also offers personal health coaching for weight management, tobacco cessation and other health-related classes.

For more information, call (219) 326-2480.