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I Believe In Staying Active

Essayist Michele Chernega

Eat better, feel less stressed, become more productive at work, have more patience, and use your credit card less!? All these things and more (have) happened to me….are they the result of having a regular exercise routine as new research I've read claims? I can’t prove it, but I believe it!....and believing something will work is necessary to making a habit stick, this too according to research.

I started by walking on my lunch break and now a decade later I still use this time for fitness. I’ll never forget the people who partnered w/me thru the years, my “exercise buddies”: Val, Julia, Lisa, Denise, Teri, Joe, Susie, Mohamed, CoolBlue Running Group, Joann. They will always be in my heart....for helping my heart!

Having a buddy to help reach fitness goals is great, but ultimately you find that you’re on your own as they move on, or you do. It will always be a matter of discipline to make an exercise routine permanent or to re-start when you have those inevitable breaks. I hate to sound trite but I believe it when I say “If I can do it, you can do it.”

With the end of my marriage and the adjustments of being back in the workforce as a single parent, I was looking for a way to feel good about myself.  I figured “how hard could it be to go for a walk every day!?” Little did I know that I’d be disciplined about that and soon want to push myself harder & eventually not only be jogging but be commuting to work by bicycle?

Then more benefits of exercise became evident to me: better moods, sleep, stamina, pushing a then diagnosed disease into remission, and unexpectedly and most wonderful of all: confidence!....confidence in something with merit, which then transferred into accomplishments in other areas of my life.   

I am convinced that a fitness routine becomes part of your body’s memory and you crave it. That’s not to say that I like it all the time. One of my tricks is to tell myself “ Well, you don’t have to do your full effort, just get changed and go”….and next thing I know I’m in the groove and going at it.

I always feel great when it’s done, physically of course, but it’s the psychological part that gives me the immediate pat-on-the-back: “Yes! I did it today, I’m done!” It’s like a mental High Five.

I admire people who are active… it’s work!  I remember watching one of my first “exercise buddies”, Val. “It’s too rainy” I’d think, but I’d glance out the window and there she was walking with her umbrella. I want to inspire & encourage others like that.  

Find your motivation and your ways to make it stick: try music, or one of the new tech devices, or recruit an exercise buddy, read inspiring books, reward yourself… just try it because I believe being active can change your life & I believe in you! 

Michele Chernega has worked in the membership department of WPSU for 8 years. 

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