Eight little miracles of Hanukkah

Cathleen Kronemer, NSCA-CPT, Certified Health Coach, is a longtime fitness instructor at the Jewish Community Center. She is also a member of the St. Louis Jewish Sports Hall of Fame.

By Cathleen Kronemer, NSCA-CPT

When I was growing up, it seemed there was always a dispute as to how one might correctly spell the name for “The Festival of Lights.” Whatever way was preferred, Chanukah or Hanukkah, I wondered if it was a mere coincidence that there were eight letters in the word…one for each night of celebration, perhaps? 

However you choose to celebrate the holiday this year (and however you choose to spell it!), I encourage you to think about more than just the miracle of oil lasting for eight nights. What if you were to challenge yourself to your own personal eight-day miracle? Since many of us choose to set goals and resolutions for ourselves as the year comes to an end, why wait until January to embark upon them?

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This Hanukkah, think of eight new things you’d like to add to your health and fitness routine. It can be as simple as incorporating one new exercise into your current strength-training regimen, performing one set of eight repetitions; or trying to stay “in the zone” on the treadmill for an additional eight minutes. Perhaps you can think of a way to carve eight  minutes of solitude for yourself in the middle of each hectic day, a time to breathe deeply and rejuvenate yourself for the rest of the afternoon. At this busy time of year, that truly would be a miracle! This holiday challenge can also take the form of sampling eight new fruits or vegetables, one each night as you celebrate the holiday. Just as the little ones delight in opening a gift every evening after the menorah has been lit, this little project can be a present that you give to yourself…and hopefully it will be the gift that keeps on giving, as your health and well-being continue to improve in the coming months.

As you rejoice in the splendor and warmth of the candles this year, take just a moment to allow that glow to burn inside of you, and ignite your passion for those eight simple miracles you are adding to your life. THEN, go and enjoy those latkes!