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UMBC Wellness Initiative

Success Stories : February 2009

Michelle Flinchbaugh

Until I was diagnosed with an under-active thyroid, my weight ballooned out-of-control. As my dose of Synthroid increased, I discovered that I love the feeling of physically moving and began hiking and weightlifting and then eating healthfully to support my physical hobbies. I've lost 75 pounds and reduced my high cholesterol and borderline high blood pressure to very low. UMBC has been a partner in my success, as I could not have done all of this without the presence of the RAC, a flexible work schedule, and generous leave. The sense of strength, capability, and self-confidence I've gained from these physical activities carries over to my work and other aspects of my life, allowing me to be more courageous and accept more challenges.

Michelle Flinchbaugh
Acquisitions Librarian
Library

Larry Wilt

After I broke my leg in 1998, I read some research which indicated that weight training slows and perhaps even reverses bone loss in adults. Upon reflection, I realized that in focusing on work and family, I had been neglecting my physical fitness. So, I started a regular weight training regimen in the UMBC RAC and I have continued it for 10 years now. I soon discovered that this exercise program contributed to my overall health, kept my weight down and made me feel more energetic. And, I've not broken any more bones. The key to getting enough exercise, at least for me, has been to be sure to set aside time for it on a regular schedule.

Larry Wilt
Director of the Library
Library

Lisa Akchin

I have chosen regular yoga practice as a way to balance the fast pace and stimulation of my job. I make 30 minutes for yoga each morning at home and attend a weekly group class. The balance I gain from yoga often helps my mind and body remain calm when work is challenging. I also find that my sleep is more restful and restoring.

Lisa Akchin
Assistant to the President
Organizational Communication & Government Relations

Jill Weinknecht Wardell

During a stressful period in my life, I decided to begin a regular meditation practice. Before I began practicing, I noticed how tense my body would become under stress and how reactive and unaware I was in certain situations. When I became aware of this, I knew I needed a change in order to better serve my professional and personal relationships.

After a few weeks of meditating, I began to notice my breath flowing smoothly and a sense of ease return in my body. But most importantly, I began to cultivate a sense of being an observer and getting to choose my response instead of my response choosing me. With this ongoing practice, my mood improves and others think I’m so calm. I remind them it’s a practice!

Jill Weinknecht Wardell
Training and Development Specialist
Training and Organization Development

Teresa Aylsworth

I have the kind of job someone once described as “sit and spread!” I have learned over the years that if I can take a good walk in the afternoon I feel absolutely re-born. Not only am I burning extra calories, I get to breathe fresh air and blow away the cobwebs in my brain. I return to my work refreshed and energized for whatever the afternoon throws my way.

The great thing about walking is that you can tailor it to you own needs. You can walk fast or slow, uphill or not, one mile or ten. There are no rules and the only cost is a pair of decent tennis shoes. So put on your shoes and meet me on the loop!

Teresa Aylsworth
Executive Administrative Assistant II
College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences

Derrick S. Johns

I have prescribed to a regular exercise program ever since I started playing sports in high school. I have continued exercising because I discovered the benefits a fitness program provides in my life, on and off the job.

Being a police officer, I find that being in the best physical condition is a must to perform my job. Not knowing from day to day what you might encounter on this job is enough to give you the mindset that you need to be in the best shape you can.
Exercising is one of the best stress relievers known. A stressful day at work or home is easily forgotten with a good workout. I find that when I feel good about myself and like the way I look everything else at home and at work falls into place and my stress level is a lot lower.

Derrick S. Johns
University Police Officer
Police Department

Lynn Kennedy

In March I was diagnosed with Diabetes. I had never been heavier but because I have fibromyalgia which causes chronic pain, I didn’t exercise much. Eager to manage my diabetes without medication, I began hypnotherapy for weight loss. Almost immediately I found myself choosing healthier foods and walking more, without actually trying. Gradually my weight went down as did my pain. Today, fifty pounds lighter with another forty to lose, I feel and look better than I have in years. I exercise daily on a treadmill and do resistance and core work. My blood sugar and cholesterol have come down significantly. Even a broken ankle in October didn’t stop me! Best of all, I am having fun again.

Lynn Kennedy
Administrative Assistant II
Gender and Women’s Studies