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GRANT COUNTY’S HEALTHY HEROES

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Riley believes in a healthy lifestyle


Name: Jacqalynn Ammer Riley, of Williamstown

What motivates me to live a healthier lifestyle?
A personal passion of mine is helping others lead a productive, healthy lifestyle. In helping others achieve a more productive,healthier lifestyle I too must lead my example. I’m a strong believer that a lifestyle change doesn’t happen overnight. It’s the simple modifications/changes that people make that later lead into positive habits that last a lifetime. Often time’s people get discouraged when they don’t achieve their health goals and quit all together without incorporating any type of exercise or healthier eating habits. Most people attempt to change everything too quickly, instead of focusing one or two habits that need modified in order to achieve a healthier lifestyle.   

How have you changed your lifestyle in order to be healthier?
I strategically incorporate time for fitness into my daily schedule, at least four to five days a week. From a young age I’ve always been active. If I had the choice between walking/riding a bike OR taking a ride on an ATV, I’d chose the walking/riding the bike every time. However, as I’ve gotten older and my responsibilities have increased, I have to be more conscious of where I spend my time.  When people are faced with not enough hours in the day, they simply skip working-out due to fatigue and find themselves in front of the TV instead.  At a young age I made a conscious decision that I would not live a sedentary lifestyle. Being physically and mentally fit allows me to perform at my peak. I’m actively involved in my community, my church and my professional career. I’m thankful I work for a company that values and promotes flexibility, allowing their employees time to be physically and mentally fit. Despite my busy schedule, if working-out is on my calendar or to-do list, then it will be done. The moment we stop making a conscious effort that fitness/exercise isn’t important, then we decrease our chances of living a fully engaged life.
Also, over the years I’ve learned if you don’t buy it, you won’t eat it. If you walked into my kitchen, you typically won’t find white flour, sodas, cookies, chips, etc. At the grocery store I consciously don’t purchase unhealthy items. Now that’s not to say I don’t enjoy unhealthy foods.  It’s important to remember that moderation is key. On occasion, and always in moderation, I allow myself chicken wings, French fries, chocolate cake, pizza, etc. Which to some of my family and friends they are surprised I eat any unhealthy items at all. We are human not robots. I also enjoy raising my own vegetables, poultry, livestock, and catching my fish. There is a huge sense of accomplishment when you cook dinner with the items that you and your family have personally raised. I’m thankful we live in a community that raising and harvesting your own food is easily achievable by many.

What is your favorite fitness activity?
Running is by far my favorite activity. It wasn’t until high school when I discovered I had passion for running. I have no desire to run a full marathon, but running outdoors a few miles, several days a week is refreshing to me. Mother Nature provides enrichment to our inner spirit, that nothing else does. It may be the sun, the birds, the wind, I’m not certain, but I always find myself after a run, more energized and ready to successfully deal with the pressures of life. I also enjoy many other fitness activities too; soccer, softball, gardening, hiking, water skiing, you name it, I’m more than likely interested in participating. Variety is key, so you don’t find yourself bored or burnt out.

How do you stay motivated?
As a group fitness instructor it’s the people and the community that keeps me motivated. Leading by example is  important. If I don’t follow what I teach others, how do I expect to them to make the necessary changes to improve their lifestyle if I don’t. Over the years I’ve had the opportunity to meet many people, some of which have made drastic lifestyle changes. If I only touched one person’s life, who makes better decisions about what to eat, and where they spend their time (hopefully exercising a few days a week) it’s worth the countless hours I’ve volunteered leading group fitness classes. Teaching group fitness provides others a sense of belonging, the camaraderie and friendships established are priceless. Life is a lot about relationships, and I’m sure the people who have participated in my classes are ambassadors of the fact that we have a good time, even if I ask them to do one more leg lift, sit-up, or squat.  
I’ve also learned over the years, spending 5 percent of your time focusing on your overall health/fitness instead of a 100 percent of your time focusing on recovering from an illness is a much better desired state.  Investing a small portion of your time upfront vs. overcoming an illness, that is often times prompted by an unhealthily lifestyles is something that we must work together to individually change. Leading a healthier lifestyle does take time and effort, but it’s worth the benefit.

How do you reward yourself?
I reward myself by doing something just for me, either scheduling a personal massage at Massage on Main or by getting a manicure/pedicure at OBI.  I also on occasion purchase new running shoes. It is important to provide time for rest and relaxation.  My high end reward is the pampering route and of course a trip to the mall for new Nike’s. This may sound ironic, but I also reward myself by ensuring I get a full nights rest.  Sleep is important to ensure you have enough energy to live a fully engaged life. The more active and involved you are, the more important it is that your body receives adequate sleep in order to fully recover and prepare for the next day.