In June of this year, I shared my Couch to 5K Program Success Story. I recounted my less than positive feelings about running, my transition from “I can’t do this” to “Man, I can do this!”, and the successful completion of my first 5K.
When I wrote about my 10-week journey, I didn’t anticipate a Part II, but with the next Couch to 5K Program starting in October, it seemed like a great time to check in.
First, I write this not as a perfect pillar of health or as someone with a lot of time on my hands. I have a few pounds to lose and I like dessert. I have a family, a full time job, and lots of evening and weekend activities. Free time is not something that is of great abundance for me, and working out can fall pretty far down the priority list, which I’m sure most reading this can relate to. However, I know that if I don’t take care of myself first, and if you don’t take care of yourself first, we won’t be able to take care of the people who matter most to us, so pushing fitness activity up the priority ladder is a must.
The benefits of cardio activity are well recorded. It helps your heart become stronger and more efficient, lowers your blood pressure, increases “good” cholesterol and lowers “bad” cholesterol, it helps your brain and memory, it boosts your immune system, and more.
The American Heart Association recommend 150 minutes per week of moderate aerobic activity, also known as cardio. The Couch to 5K program fits this recommendation. The structure of the Couch to 5K program is welcoming for any fitness level, making it a great program for anyone to participate in cardio activity. From those who currently have no fitness routine to those looking to transition from walking to jogging, this 10-week program builds your stamina week over week using a combination of walking and fast walking/jogging to prepare you to complete a 5K, whether you decide to run or walk. It also connects you with a group of people sharing in the same desire to prioritize fitness and complete a 5K, cheering each other on along the way.
And… it works! Since completing my first 5K Memorial Day weekend this year, I’ve ran two more 5Ks and am registered for three more, running quicker races each time. In fact, for the Milan Melon Fest race, I finished 4th in my division!
What started as a goal to not give up and cross the finish line, has transformed into a new found fitness routine. I downgraded the word “running” from a bad word to a tolerable one, all because I pushed myself out of my comfort zone and made a commitment to do this.
If you find yourself struggling to get back into a routine, or even to start an exercise plan, the Couch to 5K program, sponsored by Fisher-Titus and in partnership with the Norwalk Parks and Rec Department, is a great place to start. The support you get by being part of a group helps with motivation, and signing up for race participation provides accountability and an end goal to shoot for.
I invite you to join our fun, supportive group this fall. For more details, please visit our event calendar on www.FisherTitus.org, or follow the event on our Facebook page.
I hope to see you in October!
Jessica Khaledi is Vice President, Business Development. In addition to business strategy, she oversees the Fisher-Titus Foundation, Volunteer Services and Marketing and Public Relations, the team responsible for community sponsorships like the Couch to 5K program. The Fall Couch to 5K Information Session is October 2 at 6 p.m. in the Ernsthausen Center Community Room. For more information, visit norwalkrec.com or fishertitus.org/upcoming-events.