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UI vice presidents get active

BY KATHRYN STINSON | JANUARY 26, 2010 7:30 AM

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Interim Vice President for Student Services Tom Rocklin has been pretty good about hitting the gym on weekdays lately — and he plans to add walking and biking to his weekend activities.

Rocklin is joining seven other UI vice presidents to form a team for Live Healthy Iowa, a statewide program aimed at jump-starting physical activity and improving nutrition.

Though the vice presidents prefer to work out independently, they said the team atmosphere motivates them to hit the gym.

“I don’t want to let my teammates down,” Rocklin said. “So I’m a little less likely to make excuses for not exercising.”

Susan Buckley, the UI vice president for Human Resources, and Carroll Reasoner, the interim vice president for Legal Affairs and general counsel, gathered the team of vice presidents.

While the UI’s team of VPs enjoys the healthy dose of competition that comes with the program, members also said they hope to serve as role models for healthier habits.

“I think all have signed on to improve their level of activity, so that part is serious,” Reasoner said. “But I look at it as a friendly competition.”

The administrators aren’t the only ones on campus involved in Live Healthy Iowa — 934 UI employees registered for the program, making up 138 teams, said the UI program coordinator Erin Litton. The university is aiming to sign up 1,000 participants this year.

After the first recording period, university employees submitted 2,775 hours of activity time and 600 pounds in weight loss, Litton said.

The statewide program stretches from Jan. 14 to April 23, giving participants 100 days to lose weight and increase their physical activity. The team aspect of the program gives members a sense of accountability — they are expected to log their activity and turn in the records, she said.

“Social support is key in sustaining healthy behaviors,” Litton said. “When coworkers are making healthy choices with you, it is easier to be successful.”

Last year, 814 UI participants clocked 199,115 miles of activity and lost more than 3,500 pounds.

Kendig, who will begin his new job at the UI on Feb. 15, said he is a competitive person by nature, but he competes with himself more than anyone else.

“I’m trying to do a little bit more each week,” he said. “This program gives me a good way to track progress while also contributing to a team effort, which makes it more fun.”


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