Working to Live Well: TMC Community Outreach Specialist Finds Comfort in Exercise

IMG_3233“I don’t have time to work out today” or “I’ll do it later” are common responses for those trying to fit exercise into busy schedules. After making up excuses not to exercise for five years, Community Outreach specialist Jessica Mitchell realized it was time to put an end to her unhealthy lifestyle.

“About five years ago, I was a regular gym go-er. I came home from work every day, changed and went to LA fitness for an hour,” she says. “Then, I don’t know what happened.” Life is what happened—a marriage, a family, a job. So often, exercising takes the back seat.

Mitchell has been at TMC for six years now—originally as the assistant manager of the TMC Gift Shop and recently hired as the Community Outreach specialist, where she goes into the community to raise awareness about injury prevention among youth.

As she settled into her new position this past March, she also became inspired to start working out again. The mother of two young children had plenty of motivation for her newfound commitment: “I had no energy. I wanted to be able to play with my lively 2-year-old in a way she deserves. It was time to start feeling better about myself again.”

Mitchell now attends TMC’s Optimal Results Fitness and Wellness Center—the O.R.—daily. And, if she is unable to get there, she finds a way to exercise at home with her family.

She offers advice for those who are struggling to achieve an active lifestyle. “Actually getting to the gym is the challenge. I think the biggest thing is to say you want it and just do it. When you see results, it really is totally worth it,” she says.

Mitchell has her sights set on not necessarily losing weight—although a benefit—but to tone up and to simply feel healthy again. “As of now, I don’t really have any long-term goals, but once I establish a rhythm, I think I will,” she says.

Whether it is walking a mile, completing an hour-long spin class or crossing the finish line of a triathlon, the importance of daily exercise cannot be ignored. Not only is exercising a fun way to engage with friends and peers, daily exercise is proven to increase the quality of life—it controls your weight, it manages chronic health conditions, it improves your emotional health and it boosts your energy level.

TMC Wellness Director Mary Atkinson says, “People who exercise routinely have higher self- efficacy. They value their bodies, wellbeing, and their engagement in their own health.” She encourages everyone to view exercise as fun and enjoyable. She says, “Are you an inside person or outside? Would you rather work out alone or are you motivated by a group? Do you want to engage in something that is high energy or low energy? Whatever that is, the best exercise is the one that you will do.”

Atkinson notes that the O.R. gym has its perks. “The gym offers a variety of exercise options—strength training, cardio machines, group classes. And if you aren’t a gym-lover, TMC provides employee wellness programs outside the gym, such as the stair climb challenge and the health trip series.”

The O.R. gym makes Mitchell’s plan to lead a healthier lifestyle more feasible. Located where TMC’s operating rooms were formally positioned before moving into the new tower, the gym will be celebrating its one year anniversary since its opening this fall. “The gym is awesome and accessible,” Mitchell says. “The classes push me and the equipment is great,” perfect for both beginners and advanced fitness training.

Through the gym, its Wellness department and a myriad of programs, TMC demonstrates that wellness of its employees is a priority. “I wouldn’t be able to do this without the support of the people I work with,” Mitchell says, “and for that I am thankful.”

Related News:

A Promise made to TMC employees leads to an on-site investment in their health

Heart Association Names TMC a Top Level Fit Friendly Worksite

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Tucson Medical Center | 5301 E. Grant Road | Tucson, Arizona 85712 | (520) 327-5461
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