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"A moment with ... Mindy Stephens"

01/19/2012

Mindy Stephens after competing in a Warrior Dash, which is a mud-crawling, fire-leaping, extreme run.
"A moment with ..." is a Q-and-A column featuring Miami employees.

While many of us have to really think about how we are going to work in exercise during our busy days, for Mindy Stephens, her lifelong passion for fitness is now just a part of her normal workday. Stephens is associate director of fitness and marketing for Miami University’s recreational sports center. She coordinates the programs that help Miamians stay active.

Q: How do you know which fitness programs to schedule at the Rec?
A: I do a lot of research. Fitness is always changing, and we want to be leading the way with offering up-to-date programs. I also network with other universities across the country, and keep up with the latest fitness trends that make health sense and are not just fads. One example is the TRX© Suspension Training; developed by a Navy Seal, it uses your own body weight for strength and balance training. We use this piece of equipment in our group fitness classes and personal training.

Q: What was it about this field that attracted you and encouraged you to make it a career?
A: Fitness and physical activity have always been a part of my life. I started dancing when I was young, and began teaching group fitness in high school. I studied exercise and sports science and received my master’s degree while interning in campus recreation. I received this position just out of graduate school and I love it. I enjoy the administrative planning part as much as the opportunity to teach group fitness.

Q: Do you do other exercise plans besides your classes?
A: I like to try a variety of physical activities. I climb and swim, and I especially like to run. I train for marathons, it is my time to think, and ‘be in the moment.’ I am lucky that my job is also my hobby.

Q: What advice would you give to others looking to increase their activity levels?
A: Look for something that you really enjoy doing, like walking, playing with children/grandchildren, dancing in the kitchen, strength training or biking. Exercise is a big part of my life. It’s not like, ‘Oh, I have to go exercise.' It’s more like, 'I get to exercise now.' If you need guidance, the rec center staff is here to help. If you are looking for a place to get started the Rec offers fitness challenges such as a Miami to Miami swim challenge, Journey to the Capital run/walk challenge and a Group Fitness challenge. Check out our schedules on our website.

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