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Finding Time for Fitness

Use these simple tips to help you eat right, exercise, and find a little “me” time in your busy day.
Published: April 19, 2012

As a former teacher who has spent the last 20 years teaching students and teachers about health and nutrition, Nora Howley has seen first-hand how hard it can be for NEA Members to find time to take care of themselves.

“Lots of people in this country struggle with healthy eating and active living,” says Howley, formerly of NEA's Health Information Network. “Educators have some challenges in that area very unique to their jobs.”

It’s easy to think about picking up a fitness routine and eating healthy, but not always easy to fit those priorities into the hectic schedules kept by most educators.

Luckily, there are several quick and easy ways you can fit physical activity, good nutrition, and stress-relieving activities into your busy workweek. Read on for a few simple techniques Howley has seen pay off in her years in the field.

In Your Own Words

NEA-Retired member Kalyn Denny shares the importance of being fit.

Occupation: Former elementary school teacher, former NEA board member, former vice president and president of local association; currently a full-time blogger.

Membership: 30-year member, now a retired member

NEA Member Benefits She Has Used:
Valuebuilder, NEA Credit Card, NEA Complimentary Life Insurance

What is your weekly fitness routine?

I walk at the gym five days a week with my best friend, Bonnie. In the winter we walk for an hour in a gym that has a track. When we first started walking we did 40 minutes, then we gradually bumped it up to a full hour. I have a 10- or 15-minute routine with free weights and some abdominal exercises that I do in the evening. I’m also a fan of “Walk Away the Pounds.” It’s an exercise DVD you do at home that’s very easy to follow and a really good workout.

How do you fit workouts into your busy lifestyle?

Pick a time—and that is your time. That’s one of the keys to developing a fitness routine. It’s great to have a partner; I still exercise when Bonnie’s not there, but I’m much better when I’m with her.

What are the benefits you’ve seen from making fitness a habit?

When I don’t exercise, I don’t sleep as well. I think when you exercise more, you’re more inclined to eat healthy, because it’s crazy to exercise and not eat healthy food. You just make that connection in your mind. In every way you feel better when you exercise; your body needs it!

How has NEA inspired or assisted your fitness goals?

I taught school in a little town that was about 20 minutes from Salt Lake City. So I really wanted to exercise right in the school. At the same time, our local NEA affiliate decided to have this after-school exercise program where they just hired people to teach classes. So I asked to teach a class. Having it right at school made a huge difference for me because it was convenient. It became part of my routine.

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