Too often we make promises to ourselves to get more active in these early days of the year, but quit — the exercise can be boring and we find it hard to motivate ourselves to do it. Research has shown that social support can be an important influence on our overall health and well-being, and can be a great motivator for physical activity.
With that in mind, the Clinton County Diabetes & Community Wellness Program is proud to partner with the Clinton County Health District, the Health Alliance of Clinton County, and Get Fit Wilmington to offer “My First 5K Training Program.”
Trainings will be held weekly for one hour and lead up to the Health Alliance of Clinton County’s April Fool’s Annual5K/1-mile walk on April 7. This training is geared especially toward first-time walkers and runners, but anyone looking for motivation and fun is welcome to participate. Prepare to walk or run a 5K in just seven weeks; a one-mile option is also available.
“Being physically active is one of the best things we can do to improve our health,” said Laura Knisley, coordinator of Clinton County Diabetes and Wellness and one of the hosts of the walking programs. “Physical activity has many benefits, and the list is growing. Regular activity lowers risk of early death, heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, type two diabetes, colon and breast cancer and can aid in weight loss when combined with a healthy diet.
“Physical activity also improves mental capacity and learning, improves self-esteem, decreases stress and anxiety, enhances flexibility, and improves overall mood, well-being and quality of life. Weight-bearing exercise also helps prevent osteoporosis.”
There are also benefits of walking with others, which helps you stay motivated, and provides encouragement when days get busy or bad weather or holidays make it tempting to skip walking, according to Knisley.
But getting started can be difficult.
At the registration event a registrant who was excited to get started told Knisley, “My doctor keeps telling me I need to exercise, and I just didn’t know where to start. This is the push I needed!”
If your goal is not to complete a 5K, but to just get more active, this program is still perfect for you. The weekly walking support groups will offer an education session followed by stretching and a 30-minute walk.
Education will focus on injury prevention, reducing stress, nutrition and increasing the enjoyment of exercise while having fun and meeting new people.
Because walking is such an integral part of managing diabetes, Knisley, a diabetes educator, will be available for questions and guidance about diabetes management and exercise as well.
This time of year can make getting started difficult, with unpredictable weather, it makes it hard to go outside.
“We are so grateful for the Clinton County Fairboard, they really stepped up for us,” saidRenee Quallen of the Clinton County Health District. “By allowing us to use the Expo Center on the fairgrounds for most of the sessions, we have a safe, indoor walking area to help participants get started. If the weather permits, we also have a perfect walking track outside on the fairgrounds as well.”
The training program is provided at no cost to residents of Clinton County thanks to a grant from Mental Health Recovery services of Warren & Clinton County and assistance from HealthFirst of Clinton County.
Online registration is open until Feb. 20 and available on the Clinton County Diabetes & Wellness program’s Facebook page.