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Three Qs

The mind is a powerful agent for change. Just ask Ellie Peterson of Chanhassen. Early in life, she learned that if you can change your thoughts, you can change your life. At the age of 23, Peterson, a St. Paul native, found herself divorced and a single parent raising three children, 6, 4, and 1. Life was painful, she recalls, and she felt like a failure. "I was suffering physically, mentally and spiritually. Once I started replacing my negative self-talk with positive affirmations and exercises, changes began to occur in my life. I found the confidence and energy to raise the children on my own, I quit smoking, I maintained a healthy weight, I graduated from the College of St. Catherine in 1992 with a business administration degree and nine years ago I remarried and moved to Chanhassen. Today, my children are 32, 30 and 27 and my newly arrived grandson is 6 weeks old."

Peterson's on a mission to help others change their lives and has created a workout program DVD called "The Power of Positive Workouts" a synergy of positive affirmations and exercise.

The Power of Positive Aerobics DVD is available at health stores such as Park Nicollet and from her website at www.ppworkouts.com. "Since this technique can be applied to most exercises, a guidebook and other home use products are being developed," Peterson said. "We are also designing a certification so that instructors can teach in a classroom setting like I am currently doing with seniors."

Approaching life with positive affirmations has given Peterson a rich life filled with enjoyment that includes time with family, travel, speaking French with other French language enthusiasts, and reading books.

Q. How did you develop this program?
A. While I was raising the kids, I taught 14 aerobic classes a week throughout the Twin Cities area and was also a marathon runner. When I ran, I would say positive affirmations like "I am good enough" and "I am capable." In talking with my fellow exercisers, I learned that women in general had low self-esteem and I knew that they could benefit from using affirmations with exercising like I did.

Q. How has it changed your health and well-being?
A. Using this concept of saying affirmations with exercise is critical for me. I start my day by reading from a meditation book. Then I write the affirmations that I need for the day. Depending on the weather, I go running, walking, jumping rope or do my own tape. As part of any of my workouts, I affirm myself. I have learned how to give myself the emotional support I need and it has proven invaluable as I deal with daily life challenges.

Q. Describe the benefits gained from combining aerobics with positive affirmations?
A. The benefits are numerous. Because all the senses are involved, the affirmations truly become part of the participant. Participants' personal power increases while their bodies become strong and healthy. They also feel the energy and enthusiasm for life because of the positive messages.

--Unsie Zuege
Staff Writer
Chanhassen Villager