David Freeze: Mary, Karen and Michael — a new group for Wellness 2018

Published 12:00 am Sunday, January 28, 2018

With only a small amount of trepidation, three new and interesting folks have joined my Salisbury Post wellness challenge for the upcoming year. I have enjoyed getting to know them better and I hope you will too. All have made the commitment to get their health and wellness back on track. Early returns point to a mostly pleasant experience with an enjoyable group. All their employers are on board.

Mary Burridge is family support manager for Smart Start Rowan. She is 31, mother of Greenleigh and Gunner who just happens to be 9 months old. Mary is working toward completion of her Masters Degree with UNCW in May. She said, “It seems like I am always bogged down. I want to make time for myself and worry about it less. That way, I can be more beneficial to others. I work in family support and promote healthy living. So now it is time to practice what I preach.” Mary had gastric bypass surgery in 2007, lost a hundred pounds and then gained it back.

The activities director for Oak Park Retirement, Karen Leonard is 59 and concerned about her overall wellness. She has the least weight to lose of our trio but has the farthest to go on cardiovascular fitness and strength. Karen worked in parks and recreation prior to joining Oak Park. She had an active lifestyle that included being a cheerleader, majorette and dancer early on and taught fitness classes as well. Karen said, “We’ve started a wellness challenge at Oak Park to coincide with this program. We are going to encourage our residents with virtual travel to world attractions and challenge them to garner enough steps to walk to the top of Mt. Everest. I want to inspire them.” Karen wants to drop about 30 pounds.

Doctors had been telling Michael Hallett to start exercising for several years. As a financial advisor for Mass Mutual, he knew he needed to do it and even joined The Forum but the weight kept creeping up. Now 62, Michael played football and ran track in high school and said, “The doctors have pushed me to lose weight and I am excited to participate in this program. I can set my own work schedule so this program will be part of my outlook on 2018.” Michael needs to lose 50-60 pounds.

Also new for 2018 is a partnership between two of my favorite organizations, the YMCA and The Forum. Mary and Michael were already members at the Forum and Karen joined the Hurley YMCA. For 2018, all three will be able to use either facility so that they can work out together as often as possible and use the strengths of both. Executive Director Richard Reinholz said, “The JF Hurley Family YMCA is glad to partner with any like-minded organization to make our community a healthier place.” The Forum General Manager Rayna Gardner added, “It is our pleasure to help Mary, Karen and Michael achieve their goals. I’m already excited to follow their progress.”

As we go forward, the stated goals have been simple to this point. Mary said, “I just want to make healthier choices. I want build muscle tone and I want to exercise without losing my breath. Truly I want to improve on everything and become a much healthier Mary.”

Karen added, “I want to learn a healthy diet and develop a workout routine. I have never had one. I have never been a runner or a swimmer and I want to be both.”

Michael’s simple goal, “I have been a member at The Forum for a year and been doing the same equipment during that time. I just want to step it up to lose weight and get in shape. Improved nutrition will be important.”

We have recorded their starting weights and BMI’s (Body Mass Index). A question and answer session with a Novant Health registered dietician will kick off February. All three will get an accurate measurement on inches and body fat as we push forward into the program.

So far, with just about 2 ½ weeks of workout behind them, Mary leads the way with eight pounds lost, with Michael down almost four. Karen has maintained her beginning weight.

I have asked Mary, Michael and Karen to get five workouts done per week at a minimum of 45 minutes of increased heart rate and sweating. The details of the workouts will evolve and each of them will find specific exercises that they like more.

We’ll be back at the end of February with an update. As usual, when you see these folks around, encourage them. They are ready to find their fitness again. I will do my best to make it fun along the way.



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