I interviewed our in-house health, wellness and fitness expert, Kendall Drake, to get some insight on how our residents can stick to their new year’s resolutions.

My questions are in bold, and her answers are below:

How long have you been with Harbor’s Edge?

  • March 2020 will mark two years since I have been with Harbor’s Edge. Prior to coming here, I worked as a Rehab Technician at Maryview Medical Center in Portsmouth. I received my Bachelor’s Degree in Kinesiology with a Concentration in Exercise Science from James Madison University in 2017. 

How would you describe your role here in your own words?

  • The entirety of my role is to be of service to the residents and to offer support and guidance for them to live their best, healthy life. I serve as an educator and motivator when it comes to their health and wellness. I am that accountability partner and number one supporter if and when they need it. I have many job duties and responsibilities I could list out, but at the end of the day, fitness related or not, my purpose is to keep them happy and healthy.

What is your “new year’s resolution” advice to residents regarding their eating and drinking habits?

  • Moving into a new year, so many people set extremely restrictive guidelines as far as food/drink intake for themselves that it is discouraging right from the very beginning. I always tell my residents it should never be labeled a “diet” but a “lifestyle change.” Enjoying good food and drinks should never come with the cost of a guilty conscious. Be aware of your portion sizes and simply be mindful of what you are putting into your body. It can be so simple if you allow it to be.

What is your “new year’s resolution” advice to residents regarding their exercise habits?

  • Comparable to resolutions we make when it comes to a healthy diet, most of us will construct a similar, strict routine for exercise as well. By doing so, we can sometimes adapt that “all or nothing” mentality. No matter what we do to plan ahead, there may be a day or two where we just don’t get around to that full thirty-minute workout we know we should have done. Nonetheless, your health should always be on your priority list, so this is where we just make it work and adapt to the curveballs life throws. Sometimes it may not always be that mile walk you wanted to take, but laps around your apartment after a meal or ten minutes of light housekeeping. The goal is to just keep moving. Regardless of how you day pans out, make a habit to move your body every single day.

What are the biggest obstacles you see residents face with their health and fitness?

  • It’s difficult for me to navigate sometimes because they can feel discouraged for many reasons but I mainly hear things like, “I used to be able to do this,” or “this used to be so easy for me and now it’s not.” I especially love the infamous, “you can do that so much better than I can!” There are some things that I cannot and will not be able to relate to with them, but it can be mind-blowing because I wish that they could see themselves through my eyes. Nothing is ever going to be perfect, and sure, there are things they may need to work on which is where I come in, but they don’t nearly give themselves the credit they deserve. The inconsistency and discouragement comes like a cycle. Some days are good and some days are bad, but you cannot perseverate on the negatives. Adopting a positive mentality is crucial to battling through those low days which just takes time and training.

Is there anything you do specifically to avoid facing those obstacles yourself in the future?

  • I work every single day to adopt a positive mind set. Some days are harder than others. We all may feel that discouragement or feeling of failure. We have a setback and one turns into two, which turns into five. Once we get on that slippery slope, it’s hard to get back off. I take time each morning to read words of encouragement. I’ve brought this habit into the fitness center where I write new quotes on the mirror (almost) daily. Also, just being aware of my feelings. How I’m feeling, why I feel that way – do I have a good reason to feel that way? We are always our own worst critics, so finding peace and allowing ourselves to make mistakes or miss that workout or go back for seconds. Finding that balance, which always ebbs and flows, but not letting the negative overcome the positive.

What do you hope to see from River Tower residents once they move in as far as their health and fitness habits?

  • As with any new resident, we always hope he/she will be interested in coming down to join us in fitness. Whether they are currently active or not, I’m hoping the new group will be excited to engage in the classes and activities we offer. I also think bringing in the new group will also bring a fresh perspective, spark motivation and allow us to capitalize on classes/initiatives we offer given new interests and hobbies they may have.

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