Spotlight On: Hannah McQuilkin
Graduate Student and Leader/ Staff
Marriage & Family Therapy and Outdoor Adventures
Year Started at UNH: 2012
What does health mean to you?: I view health as an umbrella term that refers to one’s level of personal well-being, as related to one’s mind, body, and spirit.
What do you do to make a Healthy UNH?: I lead trips for Outdoor Adventures, a program run through Campus Recreation. We bring students and staff on all sorts of trips such as snowshoeing, Cross Country skiing, hiking, and canoeing. It is a wonderful opportunity to bring individuals in the UNH community together, while also supporting one's physical and mental health.
How do you stay fit?: I’m most passionate about staying fit through exercise in the outdoors, as it helps promote not only physical fitness, but also mental and spiritual health. I love to run, bike, swim, rock climb, snowboard, cross country ski, hike, kayak, do yoga, and the list could go on. On a weekly basis, I try to exercise at least four days out of the week, with a combination of these activities. While I run pretty consistently throughout the year, the other activities will vary seasonally. I also try to maintain a balanced diet to maintain my health and fitness.
Do you have any tips for eating healthfully?: I tend to eat lots of vegetables, fruits, and sources of protein, while attempting to limit myself from eating too many grains and sugars. I’ve found this paleo type of diet particularly helpful if I feel that I am starting to get sick; immediately cutting out any “white” foods (breads, crackers, etc.), sugar, and processed foods when you feel a cold or other symptoms coming on can do amazing wonders and keep sickness at bay! However, I am not a die-hard stickler… sometimes I just can’t say no to a good baked good or piece of pizza!
How do you find motivation to stay healthy?: I physically and mentally feel so much better when I am exercising regularly and eating healthfully. I find that I am more focused and attentive to my work and others, more excited about my day, and probably more pleasant to be around. At times, I have also found it helpful to have a goal to work towards (i.e. a half or full marathon). Setting tangible goals for myself has definitely provided me with further motivation to get out there and stay healthy, while both pushing myself and having a fun time. All of these factors (and the endorphins of course) keep me motivated to stay healthy.
Have you made any tangible improvements to your physical or mental well-being by making positive changes in your life?: Certainly. I am all about maintaining a strong balance in my life, and try my best to make that happen on a daily basis. Particularly in the past few years, I have become very adamant about getting into a regular sleep pattern (8-9 hours/ night), eating healthfully, exercising regularly, socializing, spending time in nature, engaging in extra-curricular activities, and of course, keeping up with my work. Overall, living my life in this way has proved to help me feel healthy, happy, and centered.