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Heather Minetti, adult fitness program coordinator, climbs Last Dollar Pass at 11,000 feet during a trip from Telluride, Colorado to Moab, Utah this summer.
 
Posted 08.17.05

Fitness Coordinator Promotes Active, Healthy Lifestyles for Wesleyan Employees

Q: How do you apply your love for exercising and fitness enthusiasm into your position as the Wesleyan Adult Fitness Program coordinator?

A: I feel very fortunate to be a part of the Wesleyan community. Here, we are surrounded by a very diverse and interesting staff and an administration that actively supports and views opportunities for personal wellness as a benefit that should be available to all. Within walking distance from all corners of campus are outstanding facilities, including indoor and outdoor tracks and tennis courts, one of the finest natatoriums in New England, a new 10,000 square foot fitness center as well as new squash courts. These just scratch the surface. It is easy to get excited about coming to work in this kind of an environment.

Q: Do you consider yourself to be a positive role model for the Wes community?

A: I try to role model a healthy active lifestyle, a positive attitude and I try to encourage and support safe and effective participation at all levels of intensity, in our fitness programs. Over the years, I have seen many self-professed “non-exercisers” blossom into athletes and make tremendous lifestyle changes. Helping someone break through a personal fitness barrier is particularly satisfying.

Q: Do you coordinate classes and teach?

A: My role is to develop, market and assure the provision of a range of wellness programming for all staff. Points of emphasis include the hiring of quality, experienced, instructors, ensuring diversity in the type and intensity of classes and, most importantly, the safety of all participants.

I look forward to the close interaction, camaraderie and feedback when actively participating and routinely teach at least one class each semester. This summer, Wesleyan supported my participation in an excellent two-day conference on osteoporosis that I hope to integrate into my work.

Q: What are a few examples of Adult Fitness classes at Wesleyan?

A: Our goal is to offer a range of wellness opportunities and to encourage safe participation at each level of intensity. We have offered fun, movement oriented activities like ballroom and swing dance, a variety of stretching/toning classes, tai chi, yoga, pilates, as well as strength training, low-impact aerobics, water aerobics and sport specific classes such as squash instruction.

Q: You’re also the Lunch & Learn Program coordinator. Tell me a bit about that program.

A: The Lunch and Learn program is an educational series that focuses on current health and wellness as well as quality of life topics and issues. This past year featured nationally recognized physicians in the fields of dermatology and cancer care as well as a debate about the Atkins Diet.

Q: Why should the average, sit-at-a-desk and stare-at-a-computer all day Wesleyan employee take advantage of these programs?

A: There is no down side to taking advantage of the outstanding facilities we have at Wesleyan and by adding a bit of exercise to your day. Whether you join us for a walk, or try tai-chi or ballroom dance, ice skating or do some strength training, you will feel better, interact with some fascinating people, laugh more and, you just might return to that computer refreshed and energized for the afternoon.

Q: I understand you recently returned from a bike trip out west. Where did you go?

A: A group of friends got together and completed an epic six-night trip on mountain bikes from Telluride, Colorado to Moab, Utah. This was a self-guided trip following unpaved logging and forest service roads with an occasional technical riding section. The route is linked by a series of one-room huts that we reserved almost a year in advance.

Q: How many miles did you trek, and/or how many mountains did you climb?

A: The trip was just a little over 200 miles long. As we traveled along, we either passed by or traversed through three distinct mountain ranges: the San Miguel and Sneffels Ranges in Colorado and the San Juans in Utah. All three feature multiple peaks in excess of 12,000 feet. Mount Sneffels, at more than 14,000 feet is the highest peak. All were heavily snow covered.

Q: How long have you biked, and what other physical activities do you enjoy, and why?

A. I have been biking since I was 10-years-old. My first group adventure ride was a trip from Nova Scotia to Bakerville, Connecticut at age 16. In addition to biking, I have a passion for cross-country skiing, classic style. This year I am committed to taking a couple of lessons in freestyle or skate-skiing. Other outdoor sports that I enjoy are hiking, flat water kayaking and recently I began to do a little running.

Q: Where are your degrees from and in what?

A: I have a bachelor’s degree in recreational therapy from the University of Colorado, a bachelors degree in nutritional sciences from the University of Connecticut, and a masters degree in exercise physiology from the University of Connecticut.

Q: How long have you worked at Wesleyan?

A: I have been working at Wesleyan since January 1991.

Q: Do you have other hobbies in addition to fitness-related hobbies?

A: Yes, I play in a cribbage tournament each summer and I love to read as well as enjoy quiet time.

Q: How many bikes do you have?

A: I have both mountain and road bikes. I bought my mountain bike used about 12 years ago for $150 from the Mountain Biking Center at Mount Snow, Vermont. Great deal, great bike, which I have put at least a couple thousand miles on.

Last fall, as a birthday gift, my husband purchased a new road bike for me. A Trek 5000. It really is a finely crafted, aggressive riding machine. I am working hard to elevate my riding in order to match the performance of this racing machine, and to keep up with Joan Adams, assistant to the dean of admission.

Q: How long have you been married?

A: My husband, Gary, and I just celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary. We feel fortunate as our interests in adventure travel and fitness have merged over the years. We hike, bike, paddle and ski together. One point of diversion is Gary’s interest in long-distance backpacking. I prefer a long day-hike. Who can argue with a nice hot shower and a glass of wine at the end of the day?

Q: Anything else I should know about you?

A: Thank God I married an Italian who knows his way around a kitchen. Cooking is just not my strength.

 
By Olivia Bartlett, The Wesleyan Connection editor