Just do it!

More and more Americans are finding that the key to the fountain of youth is being active, and I’m no exception. I’ve always been committed to staying healthy; as a former U.S. Figure skating champion I never had a problem finding ways to get the exercise I needed, but after retirement in 1994 I found it harder to get on the ice regularly. Although I skated for an hour here and there each week, nothing felt as fulfilling as working with my coach and skating hours at a time to perfect my programs: learning new moves, jumping into the air, landing triples and doing my trademark spins. Those were the days.

Today I certainly can’t fit into those once-appropriate Liberace-style skating outfits but, truth be told, perhaps that is a good thing. Regardless, the fact remains I needed to step up the activities by finding something new that provided great exercise and enjoyment. But what? I’m no fan of group classes or gyms so I reconnected with my desire for something I’ve been trying to do for years. Running.

My MARtians, I’m delighted to say that with the wonderful weather we have has this season – and after years of thinking about it and failing my first attempt to get started five years ago – I just did it. Last month I dusted off my Nike sneakers and tried it again. However, this time rather than putting high expectations on myself (e.g., “a former regional & sectional champion should be able to run a mile right away”), I simply started by walking in my neighborhood. And when I felt I could do an occasional sprint I did. No pressure, no rules and no demands on myself.

What I learned was to enjoy the journey and the process. That said, after getting a couple of weeks under my feet, so to say, I visited my local Nike store on Main Street, in the village of downtown Westport, and invested in the proper gear. After all, if you look good you feel good. The staff could not have been more helpful and knowledgeable and I found myself this week joining their weekly fit club.

Not being a big fan of group sports or workouts, I was thrilled when their encouragement and support led me to find newfound inspiration and drive.

Open to all no matter what your level is, they embrace you as family and encourage you to be your best. I met lots of new people and now find myself needing to get out and explore the world on a daily basis. My local beach, country club, and surrounding neighborhood have become my new playground. This week when I posted myself in my Nike attire and asked for advice, you all provided wonderful insight and direction and for that I truly thank you.

I must say, I had no idea the degree to which technology was keeping pace (pun intended again) with fitness. So many wonderful apps for support, both for your home computer and mobile devices, make it easier than ever to get excited.

Nike has the best tagline, Just do it, so I did just that. And I’m thrilled to be part of this exciting new world of running. And who knows; maybe one day I’ll even do a MARathon.