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Take the leap to live longer

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By Stevie Lowery

So, we have an extra day today... what are you going to do with it?

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I have a suggestion for you.

Take the leap to live longer and start exercising.

Wait! Wait!

Before you turn the page, hear me out.

A few years ago, when my son was about two years old, I had an epiphany. I didn't like the person I had become. I had completely stopped exercising. I was overweight. My self-esteem was in the pits. And I was no fun to be around.

You see, when I got pregnant I used it as an excuse not to exercise. And that was not the norm for me. I had always been an active person. I played basketball and ran track in high school and exercised regularly in college. But, for some reason, the minute I became pregnant I decided to become lazy. And that carried over once my son was born. I was a walking zombie because of a very sporadic sleeping pattern with a newborn and I continued to use that as an excuse not to exercise. My twin sister would even come over and exercise in my basement and I refused to join her. I just didn't care. I had tunnel vision. Everything I did was focused on my son and nothing else mattered. I didn't care about my appearance anymore. I looked like a slob at work. Looking back now, I'm embarrassed that I allowed myself to get in such a rut.

But, thankfully, my mother offered to buy me a gym membership and that was the beginning of a new me. I used my time at the gym as simply that, "me time." It was a time that I could be by myself and focus solely on me.

And, instead of looking at exercise as a chore I looked at it as a form of therapy.

After about a year of dedication and willpower, I lost 30 pounds and have managed to keep it off.

Since then, I have discovered the great outdoors and this thing they call "running."

I started running on a treadmill in the gym but eventually ventured out to pound the pavement. I was encouraged by a friend to run a 5K in Louisville, and after that it was all she wrote. I've been hooked ever since. I'm currently training for my third half marathon (13.1 miles) and plan to train for a full marathon (26.2 miles) within the next few years.

Within the past few weeks, I've had several women message me on Facebook after seeing me running around town who have asked me how they can start a running routine. I'm no running expert, but there are several running websites that have awesome tips and advice. If you're interested in running, check out: www.fromcouchto5k.com, www.coolrunning.com, and runnersworld.com.

One common comment I hear from many people regarding exercise is that they can't seem to find the time to do it. I used to say the same thing. But, I learned that you have to make it a priority, just like eating or sleeping. I know you're probably rolling your eyes right now, but it's the truth. And, I've discovered something during the past three years. Once you make it a priority and it becomes a part of your weekly routine you truly WANT to do it. If I go longer than two days without running I feel like I'm about to lose it. The endorphins that you experience from exercise are very real and can become addictive, which I believe is a good thing. It makes you want to come back for more. And, yes, I've had days where I had to literally give myself a pep talk to put on my workout clothes, but once I did and I got started, I felt like a new person.

If you need another motivator to start exercising, I have one for you.

In May, The Lebanon Enterprise will be having a special fundraiser to promote health and wellness and support the Marion County Girls on the Run® program. On Friday, May 18, we are going to transform a portion of Main Street with treadmills and put your endurance to the test during The Lebanon Enterprise Main Street Treadmill Challenge.

From 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. that day, you can sign up for a 10-minute, 20-minute or 30-minute timeslot on the treadmill. Participants and their supporters must raise $1 for each minute they walk or run. To reserve your timeslot, please call me at (270) 692-6026.

All of the proceeds raised during the challenge will go to the Marion County Girls on the Run® program. Girls on the Run® is a program for girls age eight to 13 years old. The program combines training for a 3.1 mile running event with self-esteem enhancing, uplifting workouts. The objective of Girls on the Run® is to educate and empower girls at an early age. Last year, Glasscock Elementary School was the first school to have a Girls on the Run® group in Marion County. This year, every single elementary school in our county has expressed an interest in having a Girls on the Run® program, which is awesome! But, it also means more fundraising.

So, lace up your running or walking shoes and start training to compete in The Lebanon Enterprise Main Street Treadmill Challenge!

For more information, contact me at (270) 692-6026.