Meet a Health Hero: Ken Wilson
» You can vote for Ken here October 6th through 12th. Mark your calendar!
Name: Ken Wilson
Role: Founder of the Fitness and Fun program at Pathways to Housing PA, a program that works to help individuals who are struggling or have struggled with homelessness feel better both mentally and physically through fitness.
Who or what motivates you to be healthy?
The feeling I get when I’m health-conscious is what motivates me to exercise and stay healthy. To see the formerly homeless participants get excited about how they feel from getting healthy, in return, motivates me to stay healthy and continue to motivate them.
Describe a health or fitness related turning point in your life.
I was diagnosed with severe depression and placed on two different antidepressants. I didn’t like the psychotropic medications I was told to take. Although they helped me sleep, I didn’t like the way I felt in the morning — sluggish and without energy. But one day, at a support group for people with depression, I met a friend that never had to be on medication. He said it was because he jogged wherever he went. So I started jogging with him and soon realized that I not only felt better physically, but mentally as well. I realized if it can work for me, then it can work for others, too. I found a holistic approach in exercise and running instead of medication.
What “policy” would you institute to make Greater Philadelphia a healthier region?
I would love to see more gyms have a “try-me-out” day where people could have a day to come in and get exposed to what the gym has to offer and how joining could benefit them. It would be like an open house and would not look down on participants with mental health issues.
What’s the most important part of your health or fitness regimen?
The most important part of my health and fitness regimen is consistency. Even if I don’t feel like working out, I still go. Even if I don’t stay the one or two hours like I usually do, I need to get there. When I don’t feel like working out but do it anyway, I’m always glad I exercised. Doing things over and over becomes a habit, so I make my fitness schedule a habit. I try to be mindful of my eating and exercising on a regular basis. And I work hard to encourage the participants to go consistently.
What is your number one piece of health-related advice?
Change is possible. Don’t quit. It pays off at the end … at least it has for me.
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