In the intervening months since her neighbor encouraged her to check out The Core at La Encantada, the communications professional has:
- Lost 15 pounds
- Reconnected with her passion for dance
- Eliminated a need for a diabetes medication; and
- Pledged to run her first 5k in the fall
Kari, who moved from Minnesota to Tucson a year ago in October, had already been on a journey to better health, stemming from a 10-day hospital stay for pneumonia and a collapsed lung.
Moving to a new city interrupted her momentum. She found herself wanting to sample new foods in her new city. Even though she noticed right away that Tucson allows for an active lifestyle, with people exercising, running and cycling at all hours of the day, she hadn’t yet found her own exercise groove.
In part, her hesitance stemmed from not being at her ideal weight, afraid that she would be judged or not able to do the exercises.
Her friend suggested The Core, which is a health and wellness center operated by the nonprofit Tucson Medical Center, which offers a host of supportive services, from fitness classes to health lectures.
“From the moment I walked in, it was so welcoming and unassuming,” she said. “Although they have professionals there who know what they’re doing and have trained athletes, there was no expectation that you had to be an athlete. They just want you to succeed.”
She attends core classes along with circuit and strength training. The beauty of the variety of classes offered at The Core: she was able to find her fit.
“I feel much stronger and my endurance level is so much higher,” she said, adding she has too much energy now for the naps she used to appreciate and has not had a single sick day.
She realized a few important things:
- People are often their own worst critics. Her fears about being judged not only weren’t realized, but the opposite occurred: She’s made friends in class who share common interests. “It’s really about having fun and being yourself,” she said. “Don’t hold yourself back.”
- A healthy lifestyle has to be a commitment. “There’s no compromising on my class time. It’s not a flexible part of my schedule that I might get to if I can.”
- It’s not selfish. “If I can’t take care of myself, I won’t be in any condition to take care of anyone else if I need to.”
“This has given me the confidence to do other things that I really like,” she said, adding she now attends belly dance and burlesque class three times a week.
Tim Bentley, manager of The Core, said it has been both fun and rewarding to watch Kari’s progress. “She is an inspiration not only to Core guests, but to our staff as well,” he said.
Kari said people need to believe that they can make positive changes – and then find a support system to help them get there. The Core served an important part of that for her.
“I don’t really think of it as a gym, so much as a health and fitness partner for people who really want to make changes in their health. I put my trust in the program, and it works.”