Never an “exerciser,” Darlene was pleasantly surprised by how good working out made her feel. “I never exercised, ever. I didn’t like to sweat. In the early 2000s when my kids were young, one day out of total curiosity, I decided to see if I could run a mile. I did it and then started running regularly. Before running, I did not have the confidence to join a gym. But running gave me the courage to join the Y and take fitness classes. I loved them, especially kickboxing, and I was recommended to become an instructor. I did the training and certifications and taught regularly for about 10 years. Now, since my career as a singer/soloist has gotten very busy, I sub for classes at the Y. With running and regular exercise, I felt my body was changing. I was a stay at home mom and exercise gave me more energy and just made me feel better. No matter what stresses there were in life, kickboxing, running and other cardio classes would help relieve them. Now, after working out for almost 20 years, it’s just as mental for me as it is physical. From running and cardio classes, I went on to weight training and also play racquet sports. I really enjoy the people who work out at the Y. Everyone is super nice. It feels like a community versus just a gym.”