Spotlight On: Amy Schwartz
Director, Health Care Cost Containment
Finance and Administration
Year Started at UNH: 2000
What does health mean to you?: Being able to do the things I want to easily; having more energy, being able to say “yes” when my friends want to go for a bike ride, train for a road race or just go for a walk around the neighborhood. I want to keep up with my kids, my husband (who is very fit) and my dogs. It also means less time at the doctor’s office; that’s my biggest goal!
What do you do to make a Healthy UNH?: I stand up frequently and walk around my desk or my office. I also purposefully park far from my office building, take the stairs and never the elevator—even when I am traveling, I use the hotel stairways. I avoid lunch meetings. I prefer breakfast meetings instead; it’s easier to make healthy choices first thing in the morning!
How do you stay fit?: I do a little bit of everything, and I am always up for trying new things. I take classes, since that’s “scheduled” exercise. I take yoga, aerobics and lift weights. This summer, I did a spin class with my daughter that mixed biking and calisthenics—wow, was that hard! To mix it up, I started running this summer with my neighbor (a buddy helps). I also bike with my husband, walk with friends and tried surfing lessons—I always say yes to keep from being bored.
Do you have any tips for eating healthfully?: I think it helps to cook at home. I always make enough for leftovers so we have plenty of healthy, home cooked food to accommodate our crazy schedules. Eating well takes planning, so I try to always have something in mind for the next meal. I stock up on fruits and vegetables. I avoid pre-packaged or prepared foods. I also make sure that when I buy something that’s a real weakness—like sea salt caramel gelato, I tell my son so he finishes it before I can get a second helping!
How do you find motivation to stay healthy?: I find motivation in my family. All four of us are “gym rats”—I am proud that I often hear my kids talking about their workout plans for the day and we often re-arrange plans to accommodate our family’s workout schedule. This summer, my daughter was training for her college crew team, my son was training for football and my husband and I were just trying to maintain! A highlight this summer was running with my kids in a 5k “Color Run” in Portland Maine. Two teenagers got up and in the car at 6:30 am on a Saturday to go run a road race, now that’s pretty amazing! It was a fun family goal and my son told me it was “cool” to see me running.
Have you made any tangible improvements to your physical or mental well-being by making positive changes in your life?: I do Healthy Returns twice a year and my numbers are always great, which my doctor attributes to my exercise routine.
Anything else you would like to add?: I think starting an exercise routine is the hardest part and if you aren’t an active person, it can be very overwhelming. I think classes are a good plan since they are at a scheduled time, and they are social—after a while people ask where you are and tell you they missed you at class. If I am not in the mood to exercise classes are perfect—someone leads me through and before I know it, it’s over. Just don’t give up!