Popular fitness program gets women moving
ELYSBURG -- The Steppin’ Out women’s run/walk program was first seen in the Allentown area, and brought to Elysburg by local co-founders Ruthann Helfrick and Cindy Wedde. Their purpose is to support and encourage women to get healthier by getting in motion. So far, they are succeeding by all accounts, as the current “graduating class” has more than 135 regular participants.
Helfrick says Steppin’ Out introduces gradually more challenging interval workouts to runners and walkers across five pace categories (Walk, Power Walk, Walk/Jog, Jogging, and Running). All the workouts alternate easy and hard(ish) intervals and gradually increase in length to where virtually all participants can complete a 55 minute workout.
The number of workouts increases over time. For example, the first time fitness walker goes from three to five workouts per week over twelve weeks. There is also a gradually increasing amount of “homework,” meaning recommended workouts to be done as the Steppin’ Out member has time.
Once per week, Steppin’ Out meets at the Elysburg Community Center, for a workout, additional support, instruction and for motivational speakers. Helfrick says the meetings are important. “Some of the women need the group to motivate them.” Speakers cover useful topics such as nutrition, footwear and health topics.
Each of the Steppin’ Out classes per year has as its goal, to run or walk a local 5K race. The current class of runner and walkers is to complete the Mount Carmel Centennial 5K, coming up on June 9th. To Helfrick, satisfaction comes with the success of her students. “When they cross that finished line, it is a major feat for them.”
Helfrick hopes women who participate will soon think of their health in more positive terms, and to believe that regular weight bearing exercise can improve their cardiovascular conditioning, bone density and reduce body weight.
Steppin’ Out run/walk fitness program info: Two 12-week sessions per year. Weekly meetings, Tuesdays at 6:00 p.m. at the Elysburg Community Center, Elysburg (PA). Five different challenge levels, all with gradually increasing intensity and lengths of recommended workouts. “Homework” also increases during length of program. More information at 570-259-4857. Steppin’ Out’s Facebook page has more information, and is used to swap stories, motivation and to post photos.
For the past 4 years we have sent shoes to Haiti to provide for the less fortunate.
Volunteers from Williamsport make a mission trip to Haiti every January.
The smiles and gratitude of the people for the shoes on their feet is immense