Have you bailed on your resolutions yet?

Opinion: Columns

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By Stephanie Kuehnert

Columnist

We've reached that point in January where the enthusiasm for those resolutions begins to fade. Instead of making new ones this year, I recommitted to the things that are most important to me but tend to fall off during the holidays — finding ways to make a difference in the world and staying healthy and fit.

One of my ways to make a difference is to do whatever I can for animals. I'm proud to be involved with CATS for Forest Park, an organization affiliated with the Animal Care League that organizes volunteers to help care for the strays in town. Cats are trapped, taken to the ACL for neutering and released back into their environment (because unless they are caught as kittens, they are likely too shy to become companion animals). Then we continue to feed and monitor them. I find it comforting to care for my neighborhood cats, especially after losing my kitty, Sid, last year. If you'd like to be involved, too, our first meeting of the year is 7 p.m. tomorrow, Jan. 24 at 921 Lathrop, and it's not too late to RSVP to Terri at 366-6287.

Doing things for others is sometimes easier than doing what I need to do for myself, namely staying healthy. There were so many delicious things on the table over the holidays and I had a great excuse to eat them and avoid exercise: I'm just so stressed and so busy; I'll get back on track after New Year's.

Fortunately for me, the park district was there to make sure I kept that promise. They held their "fitness demo days" during the second week of January and the spinning class offered on Monday, my night off, caught my eye. When I'd first heard about spinning, I wondered how hard riding a stationary bike could really be, but my best workout buddy swore by it, so I figured, why not?

The class is held in the fitness center, a room with bikes and treadmills that I didn't know existed in the park district building. Turns out if you take a class there, you get free access or you can sign up for a $10-per-month membership. Melinda Holm Peterson, the spinning instructor, donated the eight bikes. She's a Forest Park resident who started teaching spin in Chicago 10 years ago. When her son was born, she wanted to be closer to home. She hoped the bikes would get folks interested in spinning so she could teach at the park district in addition to subbing at Fitness Formula in Oak Park.

Melinda brings experience and great music to the class where she encourages students to go at their own pace and do what they're capable of. I'm in pretty good shape, though I haven't ridden a bike since I was 10. I was nervous going in, but when I came out of the free first class, I told my husband, "I wasn't sure I'd be able to stand up after getting off the bike, but I loved it. It was the best workout I've ever gotten." Then I challenged him to sign up, too. He'd get to keep his own get-healthy resolution and spend time with me.

His response: "If I have a heart attack, it's your fault."

But he survived, and since we both love Melinda's class, I encourage you to swing by the park district, check out the fitness room, and sign up when the next session begins in February.

Whether you want to get active or be an activist for others, it's not too late to keep your resolutions.

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