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Making every day better

Allison Cavil has a message to all you women out there — give back to yourself.

Putting in 40 hours a week at Moda Health's finance department, she knows the sacrifices women make managing their career and also caring for their families and homes. For her, maintaining her way of life would not be possible without making time for herself, and that means exercising.

"We take care of everything except ourselves," she said. "That's why we need to make time to take care ourselves. For me, it's about getting out in nature and moving. It energizes me and gives me strength. The way I see it, how can you help someone else if you don't give back to yourself?"

In recent years, personal loss has also played a factor in Allison's outlook on life. She admits that she's attended more funerals than she would care to count. Those losses have only strengthened her view of how important exercise and living a healthy lifestyle is in her life.

"I don't wait for life to happen," she said. "Knowing I have the power to make healthy changes in my life changed my perspective. Whether I'm walking or running, just getting out there is important. It's been life-saving for me."

Her health journey begins

While already an avid, non-competitive runner, Allison's journey to better health started in the early 1990s. Just a few days before the Portland Marathon, a friend whose mother was hospitalized with breast cancer asked her if she would like to run the race for her. With her friend already registered for the marathon, Allison took her spot and ran in her honor. It was her first marathon. She admits she didn't know what she was getting into, but is proud to say she finished the race.

"It was kind of an emotional time for me because I know what she was going through," she said. "For me, it was a time for getting out there and thinking about my own health. I thought that if it was me, I wanted to be in better shape; I would want to have the strength to fight."

At one point, Allison was running three marathons and several other 5Ks a year. This couldn't have been possible without her running friends. She says when she's been tired or unmotivated, it has been friends and colleagues that have helped her stay motived.

"You can always talk yourself out of it, but when you are in a group and you are committed, there's always someone there to push you through," she said. "It's that bonding you go through together that makes it a worthwhile experience."

Surrounded by nature

Through the years, Allison has participated in several workplace and community running and walking groups. Along with staying fit, she said just surrounding herself in nature revives her.

"Exercising and being around the beauty of nature is one way I find myself being renewed; it's cleansing," she said. "It's something everybody should do every day."

Her advice is to simply go outside and take a walk. It doesn't matter how far. Surrounding yourself with the trees and birds of the Pacific Northwest can be therapeutic to your mood and spirits, and the exercise that comes with it is good for your health, too.

"You feel so much better afterwards," she said. "You're so glad when you are done that you look forward to doing it again and again. You come back renewed and a different person in the sense that you are not carrying everything inside. Pounding it out on the pavement, not on yourself, is important. Otherwise, it will take a toll."

And for all the women out there? Allison said her running and walking partners see the benefits of making time for themselves, and their health.

"Women have awakened to this idea that this is a new day," she said. "The way I see it — every day is a new day, and every day is a better day."

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We have exciting news to share. ODS is changing its name to Moda Health.

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