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Fitness Community Conversation

FitnessBreast CancerJeff ClarkJulie Deardorff

What do a chiropractor, a meditation teacher, a truck driver and an "adventurpreneur" have in common with an outdoors enthusiast, a workplace wellness provider, a Lake Michigan circumnavigator and a paratriathlete?

They all share an interest in fitness, as did the rest of the 27 guests and journalists invited by Tribune host and health writer Julie Deardorff to join Tuesday's Trib Nation fitness community conversation lunch.

Their passions and personal stories were inspiring, and the conversation cast fitness in terms that included the pride of overcoming personal inertia, the discount it gets folks on health insurance premiums -- and as a life-affirming element in a comeback from cancer.

That was how Jenn Gibbons couched Recovery on Water, a rowing team for breast cancer survivors. Jenn became the first person to row around Lake Michigan.

Jonathon Dugas of the Vitality Group hopes his company can improve the health choices of entire workforces. Trucker and runner Jeff Clark seeks to inspire longhaul truckers to adopt healthier habits on the road.

Impossible as it seemed, writer and personal trainer Nicki Anderson once had been an obese teen, a key factor in her passion to help others attain their own healthier lifestyles through fitness.

The collective posture of the room improved as personal trainer Victoria Gray described how to improve office posture -- chin up and back, not jutting forward, and ears aligned with shoulders while sitting; middle fingers lightly touching outside trouser seams while standing. (Try it. Right?)

Womens' Running and Runners World writer and "adventurpreneur" (I love that) Jenny Hadfield talked about the importance of community on "breaking the sitting disease." Beside her, exercise physiologist Joel Woldt of Revolution Training Centers discussed the importance of aligning long-term diet, fitness and motivation to reduce health risk factors.

Meditation teacher Elesa Commerse drew a focus on mental fitness, while chiropractor and author Dr. James Stoxen described his passion for understanding the mechanics of movement.

For Susan Chamberlin, a board member of the National Outdoor Leadership School, fitness in the backcountry was about risk management.

Keri Schindler and Melissa Stockwell of the paratriathletic group "Dare 2 Tri" concluded by talking about the healing power of striving against odds. Stockwell's observation after running races as an amputee was that people told her they could keep running because she did.

It made a motto real for her: "One person inspires many."

And isn't that what we all do for one another when we get fit?

Is there a topic you think would make a good Trib Nation lunchtime conversation? Tell us at TribNation@tribune.com.

-- James Janega

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Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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