At 52, Connie Douthitt found herself sitting on the couch, whining.
"I was whining about my weight and how my knees bothered me," said the administrative assistant from Lexington.
Then she was invited to be part of a Facebook group, Personal Challenges, and "those women got me up and motivated."
Since March, Douthitt has gone from doing nothing to achieve a healthier lifestyle to exercising at least four days a week.
She has lost 25 pounds. But she's more pleased with the way she feels. Those benefits go beyond the gym or walking trail.
"I think I do a better job day to day at my work," said Douthitt. "I feel more confident and more energized."
Her online support group has been key, she said. When she is having a bad day and posts something about it, it's not uncommon for her to get 20 or 30 comments of encouragement from the folks who are part of the invitation-only network.
"They just say, 'You can do this' or 'You are not by yourself,' " she said.
Douthitt started out slowly with her exercise regimen by walking in her neighborhood and at Shillito Park.
She was a little nervous when she took the next step and went to an organized exercise class — a Zumba dance class.
"I was thinking, 'There are all these young girls in there, and I am too old to do that,' " she said.
But, she said, "I did a Zumba class and I was like, 'This is pretty good,' and then I did two Zumba classes" a week. Then four. Then she threw in some spinning for good measure.
She soon enticed her daughter, Danielle Jones, 30, and granddaughter, Jaelynn Jones, 31/2, to join her in weekly Zumba classes.
And she's done it all without spending a ton of money. She found free classes through referrals from her support group and by searching for classes online. She takes Zumba for free at the Kenwick and Gainesway community centers and found $5 spinning classes at Revolution Fitness on Downs Avenue.
"I never knew these things were out here," she said.
Now Douthitt encourages other coach potatoes to get moving.
"Don't whine about it, do something about it," she said. "The only way to fail is not to try."
Men's Health magazine recently named Lexington the least active city in the nation. Today we're featuring the story of an active Lexington family. Help us prove that Men's Health — and Comedy Central's Stephen Colbert, who mocked Lexington on his show — were wrong. In about 100 words, tell us how you get those endorphins pumping. We'll collect the stories and send them to Men's Health and Colbert. We might even publish a few in the newspaper and online. And we've created Stand Up, a Lexington Facebook page where you can post how you're being active. Send information about your activity with your name and a daytime phone number to: email@example.com. Fitness 19 will give an annual membership plus one free personal training session to the first 100 respondents.
Reach Mary Meehan at (859) 231-3261 or 1-800-950-6397, Ext. 3261.