By Donna Kissane
Franklin County Manager
The COVID-19 pandemic brought many challenges for people — social isolation, physical distance, supply shortages, job loss, lack of childcare … the list goes on and on for so many. It also brought the added challenge of societal divisions and the politicizing of a public health crisis.
Having struggled with asthma all of my life, COVID 19 became a life-threatening concern for me. After months of addressing pandemic issues professionally and personally, I realized that my blood pressure had spiked to a point that was dangerous. I prefer to take less medication, so in March 2021, rather than add a blood pressure medication, I committed to walking on the treadmill in my basement for a minimum of 30 minutes a day. (This is the treadmill I bought years prior and never used.) I also joined Weight Watchers, which was all done through an app on my phone/iPad. My daughter gave me her old Fitbit, which I continue to wear daily.
One year later, I am 60 pounds lighter and am seeing the world through the eyes of someone with feet on the ground — literally. I have met my neighbors and have experienced places around the world in a much different way. I snowshoe, I play with my grandchildren and connect with my daughters and friends in active, healthy ways. I have more energy and have taken over my own yard work and even look forward to mowing my lawn.
The benefits have been worth the lifestyle changes I made. With a history of heart disease and diabetes in my family, the impact has been rewarding. Compacted with feeling good physically and emotionally, we can do more to help other people in our community.
I encourage people to dedicate 30 minutes to walking or another means of exercise. It has been a life-changing experience for me that has opened up the world even more!