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Choosing to exercise can lead to good feelings and other good choices. These two women have found relief in different ways. One finds running with her dogs keeps her mind clear and the other fought pain and anxiety with breathing techniques and yoga.

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Lee Schardein was in a car accident seven years ago that left her with back, neck, and anxiety issues, and it was yoga that was her saving grace. “The regular practice of yoga and learning breathing techniques helped me get over a lot, both physically and emotionally,” Lee says. Though she had a background in dance, it was hard to find adult dance classes, and yoga was easier on the joints. It was carving out set times to practice  that made all the difference, even if it meant waking up a little earlier. 

The benefits were instantaneous. “Some people experience immediate relief. You are strengthening the mind-body connection; you are releasing endorphins; sleep might improve; there is emotional stability and stress relief,” Lee says about yoga. She says you can expect ups and downs, but consistency is the key to success. Lee loves being a student and aspires to take the next step by becoming a 300-hour certified teacher in 2019. 

One thing Lee emphasizes is that anyone can work activity into her schedule  if they prioritize. “Schedule it and think of it is as self-care and an investment in yourself, because we only have one body and need to give it love and respect,” Lee says. There is no shortage of yoga offerings in Louisville, and age and body type do not matter. “The main thing is that it tunes you in more with your thought processes. For example, when you may be frustrated, you can work through it,” Lee says.  

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Amy Siegel was stuck in a rut, and it was exercise that propelled her to get motivated again. “If I can start my day refreshing and energizing my body, then typically my frame of mind follows,” Amy says. Although she had been in collegiate sports and was involved with youth coaching, it is running with her four dogs that brings her the most clarity. During workouts she thinks about spirituality, wellness, and helping a neighbor in need. “Fitness and taking care of your body on a consistent basis make you feel good, and then you can function better,” Amy says. 

Amy likes to switch up her physical activities, whether she is strength training, working with a personal trainer, or hiking a trail. “Even on a cold day you can layer up, which will require your heart to pump to keep you warm,” Amy says. She encourages people to stay away from technology and news that can be discouraging and affect their mental status in a negative way. “You need to have the right frame of mind to stay motivated,” Amy says. If you work out with others you can share your positive mentality about fitness. “You need to look at yourself and have short-term goals and monthly goals, because short-term ones keep you motivated and long-term see results,” Amy says.

Right now Amy says her most fulfilling goal would be to inspire others to be active. “I am disciplined enough in my routine that I feel good where I am and can help someone who has not been active, if that means going for a walk or helping them walk dogs,” Amy says. She repeatedly credits her dogs for keeping her in motion. “Go rescue an animal, and walking it will keep you active,” Amy says.

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Are interested in being featured in our upcoming Best Bodies issue or do you need support in reaching your fitness goals? Visit our nominate page to join the challenge!

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