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Gotta’ Run: Heather Fidler in pursuit of better health

Long before the coronavirus became an issue, I had a regular monthly column following two people on an extended wellness journey. We had some fun and tremendous success. Several years ago, I was contracted to Partners in Learning as their wellness instructor and worked with Heather Fidler. Recently, PIL invested again in Heather’s future as director of their Catawba location. She’s now a personal training client with a serious commitment ahead for better health.

Overweight and less active than she would like at age 38, Heather said, “I have struggled with high blood pressure off and on since having my third daughter, and recently was put on medication to help stabilize it. I am not someone who takes medication regularly, so this was a ‘hard pill to swallow.’ I do not want to be on medication for something I can manage, so I’m going to put in the work for my health. I want to be around to be an awesome, active grandmother someday.”

Very active growing up, Heather played soccer, volleyball, basketball and World Women’s softball in high school. Heather said, “Softball was my life! I stayed active with an athletic build through college and then was involved in a car accident that fractured a lower back vertebra in my mid 20s. This event changed everything. I could no longer do the things I loved and started a downhill battle with my weight and health. Several abdominal surgeries did not help either. Since then, I have had a mostly sedentary job where my health and wellness were not a priority.”

Heather has three daughters: Haileigh, 15, Charleigh, 10, and Emaleigh, 7. She said, “They are very supportive of mom getting healthier. They love being outside as much as I do, walking, hiking or exploring local parks. All three have asked to join me at the gym or about my workouts when I get home. My 7-year-old gets on me the most, especially about my water intake. She calls me out if I do not drink my gallon water jug and is quite the motivator!”

We’ve been working on increased cardiovascular activity for Heather by using a treadmill and stationary bike. She is making diet changes by limiting soft drinks and making healthier, less processed food choices plus drinking more water than ever before. Fixing Heather’s work/life balance is a priority.

During our Monday workout this past week, Heather hit the 5K button on one of The Forum’s new treadmills. During an intense discussion while she walked hard, I said, “Why not do the real thing?” Heather thoughtfully responded, “I am going to do this! I never considered doing a 5K because I never thought I could do it. The Bare Bones 5K is a big step because I will be out of my comfort zone and but will show my friends, family, and coworkers that I take my health seriously.”

About PIL, Heather said, “They have been wonderful support in my personal health journey. We have in place wellness policies that promote healthy dietary practices while showing how exercise provides so much more than a means to losing weight. PIL offers many incentives for all employees looking to live a healthier lifestyle and has connected me to amazing people to make my dreams come true. My work family asked about the 5K and how they could support me. Several will be walking right along beside me, supportive yet still holding me accountable every day for my goals.”

We’ll check in on Heather’s progress occasionally in this column.

The 20th Annual Cosmic Brownie Bare Bones 5K, presented by Cathy Griffin Realty, takes to the streets and greenway at Knox Middle School on Saturday, May 1. All proceeds benefit Relay for Life. There is also a half mile fun run for kids, a very unique T-shirt and plenty of awards and refreshments. Come join the fun at the first race on Salisbury streets since the January 2020 Winter Flight, almost a year and a half ago. Check www.salisburyrowanrunners.org for more Bare Bones and other upcoming events info.

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