Spotlight On: Abbott Willard
Institute for Health Policy and Practice
Year Started at UNH: 2011
What does health mean to you?: To me, health is about balance. I am not great about consuming “healthy” foods or beverages, so I do my best to practice moderation and stay active. I maintain a level of fitness that allows me to do activities that I enjoy without spending all my time in the gym. It is necessary for me to surround myself with friends and colleagues who will stimulate my mind while, at the same time, make me laugh.
What do you do to make a Healthy UNH?: I work in a Concord office and don’t spend much time on the UNH campus, but I do what I can to support my colleagues who run the Healthy UNH program.
How do you stay fit?: I love doing anything outside. In the summer I enjoy kayaking, hiking, biking, swimming, camping, etc. In the winter I ski, snowshoe, run, and whatever I can do to get out of my office chair.
Do you have any tips for eating healthfully?: As I mentioned above, moderation and staying active is my best non-hypocritical advice. Try and keep the number of calories you output more or equal to the calories you input. If you stay up till 4 am partying with your friends one day then the next day you should take a nap, read a book, eat a salad, and go for a run.
How do you find motivation to stay healthy?: Most of the things that make me happy require a certain level of activity. I know that I need to stay healthy so I can do those things not just now in my mid 30’s but also later in my mid 90’s.
Have you made any tangible improvements to your physical or mental well-being by making positive changes in your life?: The majority of tangible improvements to health in my life have resulted from meeting new people with varying interests who help to diversify my activities and approaches to healthy living. By far the healthiest thing I have ever done was to marry a woman who insists on improving my health so that we can grow old together.
Anything else you would like to add?: In my opinion, the keys to a healthy, long life are to find a profession that you enjoy and that stimulates you, to surround yourself with people you care about who care about you, to laugh and to love, and to get outside and do the things that make you happy. If you disagree, then find whatever it is that will work for you and share your ideas and experiences with others.