How to get healthy in 2024

New year, new you. New Year’s resolutions often revolve around health and wellness.

Resolutions are easy to make but can be challenging to achieve. While losing weight is a common resolution, fitness is about more than the number on the scale.

“Embracing a healthy lifestyle is an ongoing, dynamic process,” said Dr. Gabriel Berendes of the Mayo Clinic Health System. “Use the new year as an opportunity to start the journey to living a healthier life.”

A healthy new year means focusing on food as well as fitness. Five Rivers MetroParks staff members weigh in on how to get healthy in 2024.


Meatless Monday: Incorporating more plants into your diet is good for your body and the environment. Those who aren’t ready to make the jump to becoming a vegetarian or a vegan can try to cut meat out and eat fresh veggies to celebrate Meatless Monday.

Plan to start a garden: Gardening is a lot more of a workout than people realize, and you get to eat what you grow. For parents struggling to get their kids to each veggies, starting a garden together is a great way to teach them about growing plants and encourages them to try new produce. Those who don’t have space for a garden can register for a community gardening plot at Wegerzyn Gardens or Possum Creek MetroPark in April. MetroParks also offers gardening programming this winter at

“As a vegan, I go through a ton of vegetables each week,” said Lauren Lemons, MetroParks marketing coordinator. “I try to plan my garden for what I eat most frequently and is the most expensive at the store so I can save time and money. Another thing I learned from taking MetroParks’ programs are the benefits of composting my veggie scraps. It’s great for the environment and ensures that I have really good soil, so my garden is more productive.”

Visit the farmers market: Farmers markets, such as the 2nd Street Market, offer fresh, in season produce that is locally grown, meaning the options they have are often better for you and less taxing on the environment.

Sprouting: “Sprouting jars are a great way to increase your veggie/fiber/nutrient intake in the colder months,” said Kate Lowrey, MetroParks education coordinator. “They are also a fun activity to do as a family, and a good way for people, especially kids, to see how seeds sprout.”


Bundle up and skip the gym: Thanks to changing terrain and extra sunshine, moving your body outside is often more productive than sticking to standard gym equipment. Additionally, exercising outdoors has a host of stress-relieving benefits beyond the release of endorphins you get while working out.

Those who haven’t worked out in a while may need to set different goals than someone who works out regularly but wants to step up their fitness game. Need some suggestions to get started?

Visit a Heart Healthy Trail: The MetroParks have eight Heart Healthy Trails that offer an easy to moderate hike, all shorter than 2.5 miles. Trails are marked each quarter mile so users can ensure they are keeping the recommend pace of 24 minutes a mile.

Join the MetroParks Trails Challenge: Participate in the annual independent-use challenge that encourages participants to explore 28 MetroParks trails to improve their health, immerse themselves in nature and win prizes. New trails are offered each year and vary in length and terrain. The MetroParks Trails Challenge is free and starts on Feb. 1. Learn more by visiting

Treat yourself to reasonably priced gear: Outdoor gear doesn’t have to break the bank.

“Purchasing a bike secondhand is a great way to learn how to work on a bike,” said Chris Buck, MetroParks special events coordinator. “Sometimes you can find the right bike frame for you, then build your own dream bike from the ground up.”

According to Buck, it’s important to ensure there is no rust or cracks in the frame and be sure to give the bike an inspection to make sure it’s in good working order.

“I think that purchasing most of the expensive items secondhand is really important for kayakers,” said Derrick Keating, MetroParks outdoor recreation coordinator. “They may find that they don’t like a specific model of an item, particularly kayaks and paddles.”

Keating recommends newbie paddlers purchase their first kayak secondhand until they have tried a variety of kayak brands and models. Ensure any used kayak has never been welded and, when purchasing a life jacket, check for any fraying.

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