Take Time for Fitness, Good Nutrition, says USU First Lady
Thursday, Jan. 17, 2008
USU First Lady Joyce Albrecht, right, and USU Employee Wellness Coordinator Caroline Shugart encourage Aggies to take advantage of the university's fitness, nutrition and wellness programs.
Join the gang! USU's Aggie Walking Club meets every Wednesday at noon at the Nelson Fieldhouse. Cost is free - you need your university ID to enter the fieldhouse – and all students, faculty and staff are welcome.
With temperatures in the single digits, shorter days and demanding schedules, it’s easy to let a regular fitness routine and nutritious meal preparation sink to the bottom of your ‘to-do’ list. But making a healthy lifestyle a top priority will improve your ability to meet the challenges life throws your way, says Utah State University First Lady Joyce Albrecht.
“A lifestyle choice – that’s the key,” says Albrecht. “We’re all busy and we all can find excuses for not being physically active and eating healthy meals.”
With an event-filled calendar as USU first lady, in addition to her full-time job as the university’s director of stewardship, Albrecht could be excused for missing a workout session or two.
“I exercise for 30-45 minutes first thing in the morning on my exercise bike or treadmill and lift some weights,” she says. “If I wait until later in the day there are too many things that come up.”
One weekly fitness activity Albrecht makes time for is the newly formed Aggie Walking Club coordinated by USU’s Employee Wellness program. Each Wednesday, students, faculty and staff are invited to meet at noon at the Nelson Fieldhouse. Weather permitting, the walkers enjoy a brisk, 45-minute stroll around campus. When the weather outside is frightful, participants partake of the Fieldhouse’s comfortable indoor track.
“I think the Aggie Walking Club is fabulous, and I encourage everyone to get involved,” she says. “I get to visit with colleagues I don’t see very often and I’ve made new friends. That 45 minutes goes by very fast.”
Albrecht and her husband, President Stan L. Albrecht, typically host three to four university events at the president’s residence during weekday evenings. On weekends, the pair often represents the university at athletic events, donor, student and alumni gatherings and other functions.
“That means we sit down to a lot of wonderful catered meals,” she says. “I try to be aware of portion sizes and what I eat. Sometimes I skip dessert but it’s very hard to turn down Aggie ice cream.”
During the day, Albrecht says she eats frequently but chooses healthy snacks like fruit, raw vegetables and yogurt.
“It’s important to make healthy choices and avoid empty calories,” she says.
Albrecht says taking the time to exercise and eat right helps her keep her energy up and pursue a busy schedule. “I always feel energized and ready to work after a good walk,” she says. “And exercise doesn’t have to be strenuous. Sometimes I just choose the stairs over the elevator.”
Albrecht praises the university’s new Employee Wellness program, coordinated by Caroline Shugart and the Office of Human Resources, along with programs offered by Campus Recreation and the Student Health and Wellness program.
“There’s really something for everyone – no matter what your fitness and ability level is,” she says.
Albrecht adds that, beyond the personal benefits, attention to wellness should be a community priority. “Healthcare costs are rising and it’s something we all need to pay attention to. So many chronic diseases – diabetes, cardiovascular disease and some cancers – are caused by physical inactivity and poor nutrition.”
Our choices impact our health, she says. “We need to focus on the things we’re doing – or not doing – that contribute to our wellness.”
USU’s Employee Wellness program offers a variety of opportunities for fitness, nutritional and wellness counseling and information. To learn more, visit the program’s Web site.