Spotlight On: Jim Graham

August 13, 2014


Jim Graham

Manager, Leadership Communications
Communications and Public Affairs

Year Started at UNH: 2009

What does health mean to you?: An ongoing pursuit of balance between the emotional and physical, personal and communal. Or: juggling family, career, community, outdoor pursuits, chill-out time, chores and the day-to-day minutia while maintaining some semblance of peace, perspective and mirth.

What do you do to make a Healthy UNH?: I take advantage of Healthy Returns, the Employee Fitness Center and the College Woods trails, and encourage others to enjoy an active lifestyle. I walk to meetings and avoid elevators, and try to buy local whenever possible.

How do you stay fit?: Funny question. Although I guess I’m very fit by most standards and enjoy taking part in endurance events, I don’t really think about my fitness goals in terms of BMI, blood pressure, cholesterol – or, even finishing times. My physical health is more a consequence of the active lifestyle I chose, the communities I embrace and the landscapes I love experiencing. Being active and outdoors is central to who I am. So, depending on the season, I run on trails, mountain bike, Nordic ski, sea kayak and hike; and always take a short walk at lunch. At age 54, I’m at this great spot where being active is more of a time to reflect, listen, challenge myself, celebrate life and explore this beautiful Granite State -- my meditation in motion.

Do you have any tips for eating healthfully?: Embrace an active lifestyle, and you’ll find yourself naturally being more interested in what you put into your body and how it makes you feel overall. Make your goal feeling good – not being a certain weight or shape. And dark chocolate and an occasional cold, fermented libation taste even better when they’re earned with sweat-equity.

How do you find motivation to stay healthy?: It’s a personal commitment that I try to be realistic about – accepting the normal setbacks and quirks that are bound to crop up in any long-term pursuit. Over the years, I’ve developed a real appreciation of the value of stepping away from the endless media “noise” that would have me sitting indoors glued to a screen, eating lousy food and “acting my age.” In a way, my outdoor pursuits are a quiet little rebellion against all that; and a great way to get in touch with what’s “real.”

Have you made any tangible improvements to your physical or mental well-being by making positive changes in your life?: About 25 years ago, I stopped watching TV almost entirely. The average American watches more than 30 hours of TV a week – 30-plus!! Imagine what we all could do with that time!

Anything else you would like to add?: I have a long commute, make my wife and kids my first priority, volunteer in a few community groups, take care of an old house and heat with wood, and I have had four knee surgeries along with many little and not-so-little injuries and setbacks. But I still find 30 minutes to an hour to be outside and active most days, along with occasional visits to the gym and awkward attempts at Pilates at home. If I can find the time to be active and “fit,” almost anyone can.

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