Published in the Iola Register on Jun. 21, 2013.

Year of Peace - Exercise together; get fit, have fun while building friendships, bonds

By Rebecca Thornton
 Doing activities together with friends and family makes everything much more enjoyable. Not only do you have the encouragement, but you also have the bonding experience.
 One of my favorite things to do is exercise, and when you make it a group activity, the enjoyment level just increases. I would like to share some of the benefits I experience while I exercise with friends and family.
 Some of the benefits of working out or exercising in a group is you're not alone. You can reach a group goal and have fun while getting or staying fit. I would much rather have friends and family cheering me on and pushing me than trying to do something alone. Working out in a group is also a great bonding activity.
 Another benefit to group exercising is that you're having fun while staying healthy. Personally, I feel that when something is enjoyable, it makes setting, working toward and achieving goals much more attainable. Achieving your goals while people are encouraging you will lift anyone's spirits.
 Basically, when you feel like getting fit and having fun at the same time, add some friends and family to the mix and you will achieve much more than you   would alone. When you break the group experience down to its core, you will find that even if you didn't build a lot of muscle, you have made a lot of memories and built friendships and bonds that never can be broken.
—Rebecca Thornton will be an eighth grader at Concordia Junior High School. She is the daughter of Raymond and Angela Morse.