Take care of yourself, you’re worth it

Published 12:00 am Thursday, March 25, 2010

What do fitness, family, friends and health have in common — a better way of life, and lots of fun! Yes I said fun!

About seven years ago my life changed. Not only did I have a 6-week-old baby and a 10-year-old (yes, a 10-year-old), but my workout schedule had to change because of my responsibilities. I was getting up and running/walking every morning until my precious baby girl entered the world. So I joined the local gym and began taking aerobic and toning classes. I had been a part of the fitness world as a participant since I was 16, but was touch and go with working out. I had made my mind up that at the age of 31, I was going to be in better shape than in my 20s.

I was enjoying the classes and was bound and determined to reach my goal. Then I was asked to be a substitute for some of the classes and found out that I really enjoyed teaching the classes and wanted to continue to teach. I soon became certified as a personal trainer specifically dealing with group fitness. As time passed, I was teaching my own classes and had become certified in a format called turbo kick. I can’t explain to you not only the difference this had made in my health but also the special friendships I have made while teaching. I have met people that I may not have met otherwise and have built strong friendships that will last forever. I am writing this to just encourage you to get moving!

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If group fitness is not your thing, then grab a friend or family member and find something you are interested in doing. I know time is very important and we do not have much of it, but please understand that your health requires that you not only eat right, but exercise as well. I am a busy mom too, and I know that finding time to workout is a challenge. However, I know that incorporating that time is an example to my children to lead a healthy lifestyle. I am living proof that once you stick with it, your health improves.

My father died at the age of 41 of a heart attack. My goal is to be sure that I do everything possible to take care of myself so that I can take care of my family, my kids at school and the people that come to my classes. I am a group person; I need the encouragement and motivation that others bring to my workout world. Not everyone needs the group fitness, but as I mentioned earlier, make it a goal to do what is best for you!

I achieved something this year that I never thought I would be able to do. I ran my first 10k. From the encouragement from people in my group fitness world, we all decided to do it together and it was an awesome experience. Thank you Courtney, Jennifer, Shannon, Jolene and my turbo-kick family for not only coming and supporting my classes, but for motivating me to achieve something I thought I would never be able to do. I owe it all to you guys!

So Natchez, I want to encourage you to get out there and make your own goals. You never know who may inspire you!

Shannon Doughty is a Natchez resident.