Penn staffer blogs for Huffington Post

A chance encounter at a New York City dress shop with the chief of The Huffington Post, has led to Penn’s Leslie Mellet, associate vice president in the Office of the University Secretary, authoring a motivational blog on the popular internet site.

While shopping in Greenwich Village recently with her daughter, Mellet began conversing with the sales people about fitness training. Mellet is a devoted exerciser who runs, swims and cycles, in addition to working full time and being the mother of seven grown children and four grandchildren.

As the conversation continued, Mellet noticed that a woman with blond hair was smiling at her. That woman turned out to be Arianna Huffington, cofounder, president, and editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post.

“She had overheard the conversation and then called the sales guy, who emailed my daughter, who emailed me to ask if I’d like to write about how to stay fit and motivated after 50,” Mellet says.

Mellet accepted the challenge, and her blog now runs in Huff/Post50, the online newspaper’s lifestyle page targeted to the baby boomer generation. Actor/producer Rita Wilson, the wife of Academy Award-winning actor Tom Hanks, is the executive editor of the page.

Mellet’s first blog entry, titled “Fitness After 50: Staying Motivated To Exercise In Midlife,” introduced her to readers and explained her motivation behind staying in shape (remaining healthy, reducing stress, having fun).  A committed triathlete like her husband, Mellet says the blog is an extension of her personal fitness philosophy.

“Though I enjoy the exercise and training, what I really enjoy is meeting different people,” she says. “[Training is] very social and that’s part of staying motivated. Online, you’re sharing with the whole social fabric.”

Mellet says she has received reader feedback, but is hesitant to give advice to others, save for, “You have to do what makes you feel good, even if you don’t like it, because in the end you’ll feel better.”

Future posts will discuss motivation and training in less than ideal conditions, “like when it’s 10 degrees outside and you have go swimming,” Mellet says. Her 600- to 800-word posts will appear once or twice a week.