Reach out without pulling a muscle

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

Don’t feel badly if this was not on your radar; I just found out about it a few days ago myself.  It appears as though, in addition to being a prime gift-exchanging month, December has yet another claim to fame: it is National Write A Friend Month.

In our age of advanced technology, many of you might have immediately thought about emailing someone with whom you have not been in contact recently.  However, in my estimation, this holiday calls for taking out a pen and a fun piece of stationary and actually writing a letter.  Come on, when is the last time you engaged in that activity? 

Everyone loves receiving mail…real mail, with a stamp on the envelope.  If you know of anyone who has been out of touch for a while, or perhaps homebound for some reason, now is the perfect time to reach out and let a friend know that he or she is on your mind.  

One of the best ways to chase off the foreboding winter doldrums is to encourage that wonderful endorphin release by getting some exercise.  An even better idea is to write to a friend and invite him or her to join you!  Such an act will not only remind your friend that he or she has been missed, but also that you may be concerned for his or her well-being and good health.  An invitation to accompany you on a walk when the snow is lightly falling, or to join you in trying out a new Group Exercise format, could be the very thing that raises someone’s spirits this month. 

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If organized fitness is not high on your friend’s list, be creative! A suggestion to go ice skating may be more suitable to his or her comfort level, or even a few games of bowling.  As long as you are reaching out, you are not only fulfilling a mitzvah, but you are also giving the gift of good health to someone who may otherwise not have considered this a priority.  

Sure, receiving holiday gifts is always special.  However, giving makes us feel even better.  This week, commit to writing a letter to a friend, and set a date for Step 1 toward a healthier lifestyle!  Don’t forget to buy a stamp!