How I Stay Active in Northwest Indiana

Rewind 27 years ago when my greatest excuse for not working out after a full day of teaching 25 six-seven-year-olds was because I fell asleep on the couch watching Oprah. Not exactly a model of efficiency, and a behavior I hesitantly share. But, heck, aren't we all different people after a quarter-century passes? I'm proud to say that today I no longer channel selfish sluggishness into my daily routine. That's not to say I no longer nap. Napping can be one of my favorite pastimes; however, it is carefully woven into my schedule and strategically selected as just one of the many ways I stay active in Northwest Indiana (I know napping isn't exactly active, but doesn't that REM count for something?).

 Staying active physically, mentally and emotionally is good for the soul and overall happiness. The research correlating physical activity, volunteerism, and healthy relationships with improved mental health is one of my strongest motivators for doing what I do. Physical activities generate more energy, so after a full day of assessment, classroom observations and case conference meetings with my job as diagnostician for LaPorte Schools, you will be much more likely to find me going for a five mile run around Stone Lake than slipping into a dreamland of Oprah's "My Favorite Things."

LaPorte County has many event races that make those five mile lake training runs mandatory a few times a week. One of my most recent accomplishments is finishing 13.1 in 95-degree weather with 95% humidity at the LaPorte Half Marathon. That same day was spent on Pine Lake on a pontoon boat for a LP Yacht Club-sponsored Poker Run and evening dinner. Golfing at Legacy Hills, hiking and running at the Dunes, running around Stone or Pine Lake, doing Yoga at Dancing Feet in New Buffalo, working out at Urban Fitness and joining Mayor Milo's Fitness Fridays are my favorite sweat-generating ways to stay active.

Volunteering and giving back to the community are other ways I stay active in Northwest Indiana. In 2010 after first hearing about Girls on the Run, I was very eager to begin programming in LaPorte. Since then, volunteering as a GOTR Coach, serving as LP County Coordinator, the Fall Race Director and a Board Member has consumed many gratifying and rewarding hours. Participating in this movement, and it really is a movement as its awareness is surging in LaPorte County, has not only made me a better person, but has helped so many other young females to become the best they can be. Knowing that many of our girls in grades 3-8 are being given tools and strategies to avoid at-risk behaviors they eventually face makes it all worthwhile. We are always looking for eager, energetic, health-conscious adults to motivate and enrich girls' lives by volunteering as coaches.

Being a runner is not a requirement. If you are or aren't a runner come on out to our 5k at 10:00 on November 8 at Kesling Middle School to catch just a tiny glimpse of what it's all about. You will be one of just one-thousand participants that will be inspired and filled with joy that morning. While sometimes exhausting, the rewards gained in volunteering for Girls on the Run of Northwest Indiana are priceless. It's a great way to stay active while giving back to our community.

Laughing, socializing, and having fun are more of my favorite ways to stay active. "Work hard but play harder" is a great motto to live by. My husband and I enjoy the weekends by hanging out with friends and what better place to do that than a restaurant? Especially after all that physical activity! Hammer's, Mucho Mas, and Albano's are just a few local favorites. LPHS cross country meets, trips to Chicago on the South Shore, backyard bonfires and motorcycle rides with my husband along the Lake Michigan Shoreline are just a few favorite weekend pastimes.

It's crazy to think about how much I could have accomplished during the time I spent napping decades ago. But maybe it was all those napping moments early on that allowed me to generate all the energy I have today? Hmmmm....something to think about. While I ponder that thought I'm going to remind myself that an object (or body) in motion stays in motion, and just keep on moving.

Photo captions: The three at the mini marathon are me, my daughter, Melanie and my husband, Tim.
The bike one is me and my brother and sister at the Apple Cider Century this Sept.
Here I am zip lining this past July
The Girls on the Run one is Bella Hickey, a GOTR and GOT participant since she was in 3rd grade and she's now in 7th.