New Year, New You

By Caitlin Sheridan

It’s the start of another year — a time that many dedicate to the fulfillment of their New Year’s resolutions. Not surprisingly, January is known as National Fitness Month.

Youngstown State University employees have dedicated their time to help students and staff experience the benefits of living a healthy lifestyle.

Anna Pompeo, first-year graduate student in the Student Affairs program and wellness graduate assistant at the Andrews Student Recreation and Wellness Center, helps develop wellness programs at the Rec Center and instructs a Piloxing class this semester.

“Hearing the stories from students is so inspiring. I love seeing staff come in as well to utilize the Rec and see their bodies transform into healthy machines,” Pompeo said. “One of my former professors became a Rec regular, and she seriously looks almost unrecognizable. She looks so great. It is also easy to tell that her confidence is now through the roof, which is very inspiring.”

Pompeo has made fitness one of her personal passions.

“I have really come to value the fitness level my body has reached,” she said. “It is truly rewarding to see what hard work and dedication can bring you in terms of fitness, and I feel more confident in myself by being in shape.”

Acknowledging that many do not achieve the goals they set for themselves at the start of a new year, Pompeo encouraged others to see fitness not as a resolution to be fulfilled, but as an ideal to live by.

“I would rather see a new fitness life plan, or something along those lines, where people don’t make it a goal to get in shape for just one year, but instead take steps to changing their fitness routines for their entire lives and don’t wait until the new year to decide to do this,” she said.

As a former track athlete, the idea of daily workouts has always been a part of Pompeo’s regular routine.

“I still run or work out every day, and fit it into my schedule to do so, because it is something that I value and gives me a good jump start to my day,” Pompeo said. “If you see that you have time allotted for a workout, it will hold you more accountable and make you want to work out because you already reserved time in your day for it. It takes about 21 days to form a habit, so if you have to do a New Year’s Resolution, make it to work out for 21 days until you can continue it on your own as a habit.”

The Rec currently sends emails and distributes flyers and posters to encourage students to engage in fitness activities.

Like Pompeo, Carrie Clyde, wellness coordinator at YSU, is dedicated to fitness. She provides health education and wellness programs to over 1,100 benefit-eligible employees. Clyde has been providing fitness programs for over five years at YSU, since the creation of YSU’s Living Well Employee Wellness Program.

Her job entails planning, promoting, implementing and evaluating employee wellness programs. She is responsible for marketing and communicating the available programs to eligible employees.

Clyde said she enjoys watching others attain their fitness goals.

“I love to see them succeed in making those positive changes and feel confident in what they are capable of doing,” she said.

Living Well began in August of 2009. In 2014, 39 percent of the benefit-eligible population participated in at least one wellness program.

Using data collected on campus, The Wellness Program offers a variety of free activities tailored to meet the needs of the university’s employees — needs like weight loss, exercise, disease management, health education and stress management.

Clyde said she believes that it is important to find a healthy balance for yourself so a person can have the best quality of life and obtain the most out of what life has in store.

“It is important to preserve health so that as we age we are able to continue to do the things we enjoy. The best part is that it is never too late to get started on creating healthier habits,” she said. “We truly are the masters of our own fates.”

Clyde concluded that she believes that being fit should be a conscious effort every day in order to live the healthiest life you can.

“I don’t feel that it is just something to aspire to in the New Year, but should be a focus year round,” she said. “However, I do think that it is great that people set forth goals to be healthier and more physically fit; they just need to create a well thought out plan to make their resolution stick for the long term.”