Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Healthy Employee Feature: Jenn Shank

Her exercise routine
     Jenn Shank has always made working out a priority. She has become involved in a number of different disciplines that allow her to stay in shape, but her number one interest is swimming. Since Jenn has been swimming laps across the pool since the age of seven. The activity has become ingrained in her routine, to the point where she is willing to wake up extra early to squeeze in her morning swim before work because she enjoys the water so much. “It starts my day off with a good attitude because I have already accomplished something before work,” she said.

Jenn during Muay Thai practice

     Swimming is an activity that keeps Jenn active year round. During the winter Jenn swims regularly. Because Jenn has been a swimmer for so long, it is effortless for her to design a quick workout routine in the pool. Jenn has found that swimming is quite the calorie burning exercise. According to her calorie counter, she can burn 800 calories for each hour that she swims!

     Swimming laps are not the only part of Jenn’s workout routine. She has also become involved in Muay Thai self defense. Muay Thai originated in Thailand and is not only a physical exercise, but it challenges the mind as well. The basics of Muay Thai are using eight limbs (fists, elbows, knees, and feet) to engage in an effective physical fight. Jenn thought she would enjoy this sport because she has always been interested in boxing and has had greater upper body strength compared to lower body strength. A friend of Jenn’s had been studying Muay Thai for four years and was willing to teach Jenn how to master the art of self defense. Jenn currently studies with her trainer and his wife.

Why stay healthy?
     Jenn has made the choice to map out her life so that exercise is always a part of the routine. “Being in the health field, you see the results of bad lifestyles, so there is a motivator to keep active,” she said. Not only has her life’s work contributed to her dedication, but her upbringing molded her commitment too. Jenn’s mother has stayed physically active throughout her entire life and manages to stay a healthy individual. Jenn has decided to follow her example to yield the same results.

     Because Jenn has been a swimmer for a majority of her life she has burned a lot of calories which causes her to eat more and she admits to struggling with eating habits. But Jenn participated in a weight loss competition that helped her to become conscious of what she has been putting into her body. “Using a calorie counter on my phone has also been a great help in the past for remembering what I have had to eat that day,” she said.

Jenn’s Advice
     Jenn has done a lot of reading on how to become a healthy person. Jenn has found that three ten minute work outs a day are just as effective as one 30 minute workout. “Sometimes working out seems too big of a challenge to be able to add to your day, but when you break it up into small sessions it doesn’t seem so bad,” she said.

     Jenn has found that the way to create better habits is to surround yourself with people that are dedicated to the lifestyle you want to create. Jenn says, “Having a support group is very helpful and keeps you accountable for your actions.”

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