To help Rivals Challenge participants keep moving and logging their minutes, we've asked leaders from across U-M how they stay motivated and why they want to beat Ohio State!
Donna Fry, Dean, School of Health Professions & Studies, UM-Flint
“What you do today can improve all your tomorrows.” – Ralph Marston
Q: What do you do to stay healthy?
A: I exercise about six days a week – walking, riding my stationary bike, Tai Chi, and racquetball.
Q: What is your motivation for staying active?
A: I have rheumatoid arthritis and I know that if I am not continuously active, that my joints feel worse.
Also, I feel that we all lead by example. I am the Dean of the School of Health Professions and Studies on the Flint campus and was a Physical Therapy faculty member before that. I strongly believe that part of being a leader in health care education means that I need to practice what I preach and that means trying to live a healthy life style. I don’t do it perfectly, but I give it my best shot.
Some of my exercise is for social reasons. I walk with the retired women in my neighborhood some mornings each week – it is just a way to keep connected and they are such vibrant souls! They keep me young!
When I ride my stationary bike, I use the time to allow my mind wander. I look out the window to the yard and simply let my mind wander to sort out issues I am struggling with at work or in my personal life. I find that with no external distractions and the blood flowing in my system from the cardio workout that I can think very freely and creatively.
Q: What words of encouragement do you have for other participants in The Rivals Challenge?
A: With anything, start small and gradually add to your physical activity. I am reasonably fit and yet when I started using a stationary bike, I could only do 10 minutes at a time. I now do 30 minutes without any knee pain and love the cardio effect.
Also, find a way to exercise or increase activity that is enjoyable. If it is just a task to complete, you won’t continue it.
Q: Tell us of a time when you had to overcome an obstacle that might inspire or encourage others.
A: At the age of 25 I was advised by my physician to stop practicing physical therapy because my back would not be able to sustain this line of work. So I began swimming regularly to be able to stay fit. Then at the age of 35 I could not walk more than a mile due to arthritic problems in my knees and I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis shortly thereafter. With the help of medication and regular exercise I am highly active and productive at the age of 56. I walked the 10 mile Crim Race for the past few years, play racquetball twice a week, kayak in the summers, and enjoy life relatively pain free. Without regular exercise, this would not be possible.
Q: Why are rivalries important?
I think that everyone is a bit competitive in some way. Rivalries that encourage healthy behavior give us more motivation to get healthy!
Q: Why do you want to beat Ohio State?
A: I am the Dean of the School of Health Professions and Studies on the UM-Flint campus and the Ohio State Dean of the Health and Rehabilitation Sciences has been a friend of mine for many years. We always tease each other when we meet up at professional meetings.