USACE supports healthy living
January 13, 2012
WIESBADEN, Germany -- Katie Ergenekon, a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Europe District program manager, and Raquel "Q" Blankenhorn, a contract specialist, are regulars in the Amelia Earhart Center gym. On any giving morning, they can be seen on the treadmill, doing strength training, or working out on the exercise ball.
In addition to doing their own workouts, the two can be overheard giving encouragement and support to other gym goers, as well as demonstrating new exercises.
One morning, another employee approached Blankenhorn in the gym and explained how Blankenhorn inspires her to come to the gym.
"I really like knowing I inspired someone," Blankenhorn said. "That same woman suggested to Katie and me that we should do something for other employees looking to be encouraged and inspired."
The result was the district's Healthy Living Support Group.
"The group is designed to get us motivated, keep us motivated, and keep us going," Ergenekon said. "We're here for each other, and everything said here is confidential."
The group held its first 2012 meeting, Jan. 11 at the Amelia Earhart Center in Wiesbaden, Germany, and focused on new beginnings, setting goals, and group planning. Blankenhorn describes the group as a safe, caring environment to share knowledge, experiences and get encouragement.
"All of the people in the group have their own goals and motivations for being in this group," Blankenhorn said. "Some want to lose weight. Some want to gain weight. Others are here because they want to live a healthier life. The group is flexible enough to fit different goals."
After losing more than 100 pounds prior to coming to the district, Andrea Faublas, a management assistant, said she was happy to find a healthy living support group here where she can continue to meet her goals. She said she joined to get encouragement and support without any one judging her.
"Having a support team when you're trying to change your way of eating or your way of living, encourages you to go that extra mile you normally wouldn't push for," Faublas said. "That's the most important thing, to have people who understand what you're going through, that understand the struggles, and lifts you up."
She said going to the meetings, talking, and sharing will make a big difference in achieving her goals, and reaching her goals will make her a better mother, wife and employee.
Whatever the goals and motivations for making it to the gym, statistics prove there are greater benefits to daily exercise than weight lost. Health experts say exercising regularly can improve job performance.
Col. Peter Helmlinger, district commander, said he encourages members of the district to find ways to live a healthier life, including participation in the support group. Additionally, he said he wants every member of the district's team to perform at their best, now and many years from now.
"The time and effort invested now to improve your lifestyle and make healthy choices will pay big dividends in the future. Healthy living improves your energy, resilience, self image, and decreases the risk of illness," Helmlinger said.